Autumn in the garden

The beginning of autumn is a great time to start tidying up your beds. You can either take out the spent plants and add them to your compost pile, or cut them into smaller pieces and add them back to the beds and cover with hay or straw and compost. This allows the microorganisms in the soil to break them down and release the left-over nutrients back into the earth.

If any of the plants are showing signs of disease though, they’ll need to go into the rubbish pile so the disease is not spread further.

If your soil is looking a little depleted, now is a good time to replenish it with compost, lime, and sheep pellets (although lime is not suitable for acid loving plants such as roses, camellias, rhododendrons and blueberries).

Autumn is a great planting time as the ground is still warm and the first of the rain helps new plants, trees and lawns get established, although in Auckland it is better to wait until after Easter when the rain is more frequent, especially after the incredibly tough summer we’ve had. Now is a great time to plan your plantings, taking into account the lower path of the sun through winter months as well as the usual considerations such as which plants grow well together, what heights the plants will grow to (so as not to leave others struggling in shadow), soil conditions and water availability. Incorporating drought tolerant plants is also a great idea given the long periods fo drought we tend to get (as well as the ever-looming threat of water restrictions).

Native plants and trees are always a good choice; not only are they generally easy care in nature, they are also generally hardy to our tough summer conditions. Many native plants are also great sources of food for our pollinators, attracting a variety of birds, bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects into our gardens.