One of the easiest and best ways to ensure a full, bright and colourful Spring and Summer garden is to ensure that your Autumn garden maintenance is done timeously and efficiently, laying the groundwork for new bulbs to flourish from the end of the coming Winter.
Key aspects of Autumn garden maintenance include cleaning up beds, managing soils, preparing your Spring bulb planting areas, managing your existing bulbs and ensuring you have enough mulch for the Winter.
Cleaning up beds
As soon as leaves begin to fall, ensure you need to ensure that they don’t build upon and around your planting beds as they can cause mould or mildew to occur, leading to diseases such as Tulip Fire. Remove them and place them into a composter, ready for use from next Spring on your fresh bulbs and other plants. You can also create leaf mould for reintroducing into the soil for use in beds next season.
Tidy up your beds by cutting back any dead stems and stalks, neatening up the edges and turning over any soil that has hardened through the late Summer, taking care not to damage any existing plants and bulbs. Put down a layer of mulch to protect plants that will remain in place throughout the Winter. In milder areas, canna bulbs and dahlia tubers can be overwintered like this, as can deciduous agapanthus bulbs.
Prepare open soil for next year’s planting by layering in compost, leaf mulch and fertiliser and turning the soil over to allow these elements to decompose and integrate into the soil throughout the Winter. This soil will make excellent planting areas for next year’s Spring and Summer bulbs!
Tender species such as begonia tubers, dahlia tubers and canna bulbs should be carefully lifted from the soil – gently cut back the stems before lifting the bulb rhizomes, clean off excess soil and separate the bulbs before storing them in a cool, dark and dry place through Winter, ready to be re-planted early next year.
You can also plant your early Spring bulbs now – bulbs that flower in Spring need to be planted in October to December so that the early bloomers such as Snowdrops can start to appear in late February or early March.
The most popular Spring bulbs from early to late include:
- Snowdrop bulbs
- Species Iris
- Crocus bulbs
- Anemone bulbs
- Hyacinth bulbs
- Daffodil bulbs
- Tulip bulbs
- Bluebell bulbs
- Allium bulbs
Remember, if you need to calculate how many bulbs you need for each bed, you can use our handy online calculator which can be found on every bulb page.
Find out more about which bulbs you can plan to use next Spring in our Growing Advice article for ensuring all-year-round bulb brilliance.