gardening with Anne McKeon

I know that many of you dread this time of year, raking lawns and rockeries, clearing pipes, and sweeping driveways, all in an effort to remove the falling leaves that have lodged there. Falling leaves are, as you know, all part of life’s cycle though. Plants, as with people, slow down at this time of year and shed excess baggage. This is all in preparation for winter, when it is the time to rest. Sound familiar?

I must admit to liking carpets of falling leaves and actually love walking through them but everyone to their own! Not only are leaves things of beauty but also nature’s compost. Rather than discarding fallen leaves, bag them or add them to your compost heap for future use in your shrub and flower beds, etc.

We all know places where beautiful trees grow and I would recommend that you pay a visit to one or more of these areas over the coming weeks, just to watch nature unwind and slow down. A lesson for us all, I think. Places of beauty that come to mind would be Coole Park, woods at Ashford, Oughterard, Barna Woods, Dangan Woods, the new Terryland Forest Park, and so on. There are many such locations and places of personal relevance to yourselves so I have no doubt that you will know where to go. Even a bicycle or car journey through the countryside can be very rewarding.

For those of you interested in adding autumn colour to your garden, consider planting Betula (birch tree ) species, Fagus trees and hedges (beech ), Euonymus alatus, Euonymus europaeus, Forsythia, Sorbus Commixta trees, Prunus sargentii trees, Cercis siliquastrum, Cornus Midwinter Fire, Cornus Kousa, and so on. The choices are endless. I know that some of the names outlined above may be double Dutch to you but now at least, with names, you can refer to a book and look up the pictures.

Don’t look at the falling leaves as being the end of a season, think instead of them being the beginning of life’s next chapter. I’m being very deep and philosophical this week!

Happy gardening !

Anne.

A point to ponder: You know that it is autumn when your patio goes as green as the lawn.

Garden checklist

• Continue planting spring flowering bulbs.

• Discard old tomato plants if you have not already done so. Use unripened fruits in chutney.

• Stake and tie trees.

• Get ground ready in preparation for the planting of deciduous trees next month.

• Take hardwood cuttings of roses over the coming months.

• Lift and bring in dahlia tubers and begonias in order to protect them against frost damage.

• Lift and store gladioli bulbs if your garden is in a frost pocket.

• Remove fallen leaves resting on alpine/rockery plants.

• Take hardwood cuttings of currant bushes.

• Plant herbaceous perennial plants in order to create the cottage garden look.

• Prune late flowering climbing plants.

• Apply autumn lawn fertiliser over the coming weeks.

• Plant strawberry runners at approx 18 inches apart.

• You still have plenty of time to plant spring flowering bulbs such as daffodil, crocus, tulip, and snowdrop.

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