26 Aug 5 ways to enjoy your garden this autumn
Don’t let shorter days and cooler weather keep you indoors. Here are 5 ways to enjoy your garden this autumn.
Aside from gardening jobs – most of which are more enjoyable than you’d think, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your garden in autumn.
- Get creative to capture all of those amazing colours
- Try new recipes on the barbecue
- Go on a bug hunt
- Make more room for wildlife
- Plan ahead for Christmas
Time to get creative
Celebrate autumn in the garden by creating a doorstep display with candles, pumpkins, seedheads and dried flowers
Autumn offers so many ways to get creative. Capture those wonderful colours and shapely seedbeds through media such as photography, watercolours, dying, poetry, collage and even embroidery.
Art in all of its forms gives wellbeing a massive boost and you don’t need to travel far or invest in any expensive training to start experimenting.
It’s amazing the detail you can capture with a simple phone camera. Pop outside in any weather or at any time of day and start looking at your garden with different eyes. You can take spectacular close-up shots of flowers, seedheads, tree bark and different textures. Or why not get some images of the sky in its many changing moods.
Sitting out of doors on an autumn afternoon with a hot drink, a blanket, a pencil and a sketch pad is a great way to forget all of your worries for a while. It doesn’t matter if you’re a confident artist or not – just the activity of drawing is great for the brain and does wonder for hand-eye co-ordination.
Another fascinating craft is gathering bits and pieces from your garden to make dye. Use it to colour fabric and yarn for some really personalised Christmas pressies.
Keep that barbecue burning
Your outdoor kitchen doesn’t need to go into hibernation when the weather changes. I use my barbecue and smoker all year round. In fact I cooked the Christmas ham on it last year.
The best autumn barbecue recipes are ones that need minimal attention. Nobody wants to stand tongs in hand, shivering beside the grill all alone. A great speedy meal is fresh fish. Wrap it in foil with fresh herbs from the garden and a glug of local rapeseed oil then pop it onto the barbecue for 10-20 minutes (depending on the size of the fish). Serve with a crunchy salad and the last of the new potatoes.
Or how about a slow cooked brisket of beef. Delicious. It’s worth investing in either a smoker or a hinged barbecue grill so that you can keep topping up the coals to make them last longer. .
Skylark Produce from Colchester supply THE best barbecue beef ever. Order online here.
Go on a bug hunt
Bug hunting is not just for children – although they do seem to love it.
It’s really interesting to discover who is using your garden, where they like to live and what sort of habitat you have created. All you need is a lot of curiosity and a magnifying glass. Have a look underneath stones, in nooks and crannys, on flower stems. If you have a pond, a little bit of pond dipping may give you some surprises.
Is your plot being visited by bees, butterflies, birds, hoverflies, moths, hedgehogs, frogs? If not – why not? Perhaps your next project could be to make spaces for the wildlife that will help you enjoy your garden that little bit more.
Make more room for wildlife
Hedgehogs need people to help them more than ever before – by making more room for wildlife in your garden you could help to save a species
Making a home for wildlife is not the same as rewilding. A wildlife friendly garden can still look good and for the most part, you won’t even realise that you are sharing your space with dozens of other species. BUT you will be doing an important job and helping to conserve ailing populations of insects and garden birds.
Start by creating a wildlife friendly water feature. It doesn’t have to be huge – a washing up bowl sunk into the ground can provide a source of water for all kinds of creatures. Add some water loving plants and be sure to build a ramp so that anything that falls into the water can easily crawl back out.
A log pile gives small creatures a safe place to overwinter. If you’re worried that it might spoil the aesthetic, pop it into an undisturbed corner of the garden -somewhere that’s out of your line of sight. Woodlice and solitary bees don’t mind being behind the shed.
Postpone your deadheading and pruning until early spring if you can. Those stems and seedheads are truly valued by visiting birds and by overwintering insects.
Cut a hole in your fence (or better still replace the fence with a hedge) to create a hedgehog highway. Hedgehogs will go into hibernation in late autumn but until then they are busy eating slugs and bugs in order to put on lots of weight to sustain them over winter.
Why not buy or build a hedgehog house and see if anyone decides to occupy it?
You could also create a bird feeding station and keep it well stocked with nuts, seeds, fat balls and fresh water. Be sure to wash the feeders out every now and again.
Small changes to your garden make a big difference to wildlife. What will you do to help other species can enjoy your garden this autumn?
Plan ahead for Christmas
I know, I’m sorry to use the “C” word so early in the year, but you have to admit, it is a magical time of year. One way to enjoy your garden this autumn could be to gather and preserve seed heads, flowers, herbs etc ready to use for decoration during the festive season.
Dry flowers and seed heads by hanging them upside down in a cool dry place. This works brilliantly with hydrangea flowers, poppy seeds and allium seeds. Use them in winter flower arrangements or spray paint them for seasonal decorations.
Herbs can be dried in the same way, OR you could invest in a dehydrator. Imagine using home grown sage, oregano, dill and thyme in your festive cooking.
If you’ve managed to grow lots of fruit and veg in your garden this year, autumn is the perfect time to make them into delicious jams, chutneys and preserves. You can even use your outdoor kitchen as your heat source.
Oh – and don’t forget lighting. If you plan on using your garden all through autumn and winter, some lighting will be incredibly helpful.
Gardening jobs for autumn
I know – this is supposed to be a blog about how to enjoy your garden this autumn, but I know that many people (me included) feel great after spending time pottering around outdoors. So here are some suggestions for autumn gardening jobs.
- Feed your lawn and carry out any renovations such as scarifying, aeration and overseeding. Need tips? Follow Premier Lawns on YouTube for up to the minute, expert advice.
- Plant spring flowering bulbs for a fantastic display in a few months’ time.
- Buy and plant Wallflowers and Sweet Williams. Old fashioned plants that bloom in May and smell divine.
- Trim hedges
- Keep clearing up those autumn leaves as they fall
- Brush your artificial grass to perk up the pile and prevent moss and weeds growing over the winter period
- Sweep patios and paths
- Review your garden’s performance so far this year and plan any improvements. If you need it landscaped in time for next summer, contact your landscaper ASAP.
I’ve just moved into a new house, with much more outdoor space. I’m certain that my family will find lots of ways to enjoy the garden this autumn. How about you? What will you do?