TIME FOR BED…

Raking leaves in the autumn

With Autumn sweeping in the potential for chilly nights, even a frost, it’s time to bed down. As a site for over 50s and how best to use your leisure time I’m sure that a few ears have perked up. Yep it’s reaching the period where you need to consider putting your garden to bed for the winter months.

This shouldn’t be too onerous but is well worth doing. As far as ‘putting to bed’ is concerned the only thing getting under a duvet is probably any non-hardy exotic palms. The sheltering of non-hardy plants is about to usurp sowing wild gardens and bees on Gardener’s World. Monty will be shuffling his threatened plants to places that are regarded safe, similar to WWII evacuations (obviously not as critical, although some gardening gurus would like to think so!). Transport for London will have to keep an eye on CCTV for plants seeking refuge in the tunnels of London’s Underground.

Us? No. Buy hardy, we do not believe in a garden on wheels! When do you take plants in and then the best time to take them out? It could resemble the hokey-cokey. If we could predict the last and first frosts then we would be millionaires; certainly not working for the Met Office. The greenhouse or is that now an ‘Orangery’ to be on-trend, is the place for cuttings and plants that don’t like our climate (no, I am not about to start an immigration debate), not a storage unit.

So, following our belief that plants must fend for themselves (harsh, but we believe true) there are still a few, probably mundane ‘putting to bed’ jobs to consider and worth doing.

Leaves falling
To leave or not to leave…?

Leaves? To leave or not to leave; that is the question…A perennial (parliamentary?) question. On beds, if not oak, which do not break down for a decade, leave, they provide the perfect mulch. Unless you are a ‘Hyacinth Bucket’ and don’t like the look (I have a very, very close blood relative who felt this way). Lawns though are literally a finger in the wind question. The best scenario? The leaves have all fallen and the there is a couple of days of winds in a direction that simply takes them clear of the lawn, despatching them on beds and/or simply out of sight; possibly into a nearby compost bin! Leaving damp leaves for a time in clusters on a lawn can result in infuriating patches when lifted in the spring. A blower is an answer; if a little pricey for such a basic task then maybe a few hairdryers! If not the back-breaking, but healthy, rake should be deployed.

Garden hardware needs some attention. If like us the bar-b has been well used but neglected; the last thing on the agenda late at night after some plonk is confronting cleaning the griddles. Likewise, with a hangover in the morning. So, now is a great time to tackle it before putting the cover on. A greasy and mucky job, one though, that you will be extremely grateful of when you whip off the cover next year at the first sign of a sunny warmish weekend day. Check that everything is secured or tucked away, such as the parasol, in anticipation of a return of ‘the beast from the east’ (thankfully Oxfordshire appeared to have escaped most of the last one).

Winter flowering plants are great but mother nature can be cruel, so brace yourself for losses. Finally, give the lawn a last clip. Then if you have a serviceable one, check it in to beat the queues at the service centre next March.

All sorted and the logs piled ready. Warming fires, the odd supper party, with some creamy Stilton and maybe a glass of port. Before you know it, you will be realising that it’s not worth turning the forgotten clocks back as they will soon be leaping forward.

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