HIGH ROAD, CHIGWELL, ESSEX, IG7 5BL
020 8500 2690
Even if your lawn looked dry and brown this summer, you have probably already found that cooler weather and Autumn showers have helped it to recover. It now faces another tough period: fallen leaves and the resulting, suffocating ‘thatch’ that builds up around the base of the blades, freezing temperatures and waterlogging are all common problems for the lawn throughout Autumn and Winter. The good news is that Autumn is the best time of year to conduct lawn maintenance and improvement, since the ground is still quite warm from the Summer temperatures, allowing for germination and growth of new seed and establishment of turf, and the risk of drought is considerably less with morning and evening dews, and frequent showers. The important jobs this month are clearing fallen leaves regularly, preferably with a plastic lawn rake, addressing areas which are prone to waterlogging, and sowing seed or laying turf in bare patches - or even entire new lawns! For more information, please see our page on Autumn Lawn Care.
I bet your Summer bedding no longer looks as nice as the container pictured! It’s time to clear out Summer bedding and replenish with fresh compost to prepare for Winter bedding. While you have the wheelbarrow handy, there’s lots more tidying to be done too - cut back perennials, pick up fallen leaves from deciduous shrubs in your flower-beds and dead-head and trim wherever necessary. When trimming back roses remove any leaves affected by blackspot and clear fallen infected leaves from the ground to prevent spread of the disease. Take advantage of the softer ground and pull weeds out. For tough weeds that you can’t pull or dig out, spray with RoundUp, which is a systemic weedkiller, meaning it is absorbed into the weeds through the leaves and kills it from within. Autumn is the most effective time to use systemic weedkillers, as the chemical will be taken down to the roots along with the majority of sap movement, so spray now to kill those tough weeds once and for all.
Moss and algae on paths or between paving cracks hold a lot of water once the wet weather comes, and can lead to a treacherously slippery pathway or patio. If yours resemble the picture left then it’s a really good idea to clean them now, to prevent Winter slips and trips. As our surfaces are always wet from watering constantly, we like to consider ourselves somewhat experts in the field of path-cleaning! Often nothing beats a good old-fashioned jet-wash, but if you don’t have a jet-washer there are some really good alternatives. By far the best we have come across is PatioMagic, which is applied through a watering-can and then simply left to work. You don’t need to scrub or rinse away - it will just kill the slippery weeds and clean your paths all on its own!
At Chigwell Nursery we take caring for our garden birds very seriously, and we know from the feedback we get that our customers do too. Over the last few years we have been lucky enough to host talks with experts from The British Trust for Ornithology, and we have learnt the importance of feeding garden birds not just in the Winter months, but supporting them all year round too. However, it can’t be denied that natural food resources become much more scarce in the Winter, so we have some really good offers on wild bird food to help you support your feathered friends in the garden.
Please remember that if you regularly put food out for the birds, they will remember your garden, and go out of their way to visit you to feed. This will of course require energy - something which is very precious to birds in the tougher months, so please make sure they don’t have a wasted trip.
Even as the last apples and pears fall from your fruit trees the Winter Moth Caterpillar is already hatching a plan to ruin next year’s crop! In Autumn and early Spring the wingless female climbs the trees to lay eggs right inside the developing buds. If left, these eggs will hatch out inside next year’s fruit, and the larvae will then burrow its way to the surface - if you’ve ever seen a fallen apple with a maggot hole in it - this is the cause! You can protect your trees by applying a layer of Fruit Tree Grease, or a Greaseband, around the trunks of your trees. This is a completely organic product that just acts as a sticky barrier to the wingless female, so she gets stuck in the grease as she climbs and can’t reach your developing fruit buds. Apply now, and renew in February.
Autumn gardening is all about thinking ahead, and if the chilly weather is already making you long for the daffodils and Bluebells of Springtime, now’s the time to make sure it happens! We have a great range of beautiful Spring-flowering bulbs, including Hyacinths (which can also be planted indoors and ‘forced’ to flower for Christmas), Crocus, Tulips and Snowdrops. After the cold miserable months of January and February there really is nothing nicer than seeing the garden creep into life as these bulbs push through and come into flower while many other plants are still deep in their Winter sleep, so come and choose your bulbs quick while there is still a good selection!
Once you’ve cleared the Summer bedding, you can replant with beautiful Winter bedding plants to keep your garden looking fresh and pretty throughout the relatively bland season ahead. We now have a great selection of Winter pansies and Violas, which are completely hardy and will flower through to next Spring. You can also choose from cyclamen, ornamental cabbages, Calluna, and Silver Leaf. There is much less choice when it comes to trailing Winter bedding, but ivy is evergreen, pretty and will cope well with anything the British Winter has to offer! For extra interest, we have a great selection of small shrubs with seasonal interest, ideal for mixed Winter containers and baskets, like those in the picture, left. Within this range you’ll find Skimmia, Leucothoe, Photinia, Winter-flowering heathers and much more. If you’re pressed for time, or simply don’t want to plant your own, you can choose from our ready-planted hanging baskets and containers, so there really is no excuse for a boring Winter garden this year!
Frost and snow can be damaging in the garden, especially if you have any tender plants which are susceptible to colder temperatures. Many people lose Cordylines (right) in the Winter, and often this is avoidable. When you water your Cordyline, you will notice that the water collects in the central stem at the base of the plant. In cold conditions this water can freeze, and will then probably thaw the next day. It is this freezing and thawing that often causes Cordylines to die in the Winter. The thawing process can take its toll on other tender or Winter-flowering plants too - for example, frost thawing on a Camellia bud will often cause it to drop off. Minimise this damage by moving plants to areas where they won’t be exposed to early-morning sun, or by covering with horticultural fleece whenever frost is predicted. Tying the leaves of a Cordyline gently but securely together above the stem of the plant will also help prevent water gathering in the stem. If you’re caught out by an unexpected frost gently wash the frost off tender plants with cold water before the sun gets on them.
It may not technically be a gardening job, but planning for Christmas is something we all have to do! If you’ve been to the Nursery lately you’ll see that our Christmas displays are coming together nicely, and this year we have a larger range of decorations and lights than ever before!!
The garden centre is also a good place to look for a slightly more unusual gift for a keen garden-loving friend or relation - particularly popular are statues, including stone Buddhas, and water-features. Bird-lovers may also appreciate a a bird-bath or bird mobile like that pictured above, left. We also now stock a really good range of silk flowers and weather-proof silk plants, which may be ideal for that someone who loves a nice garden, but doesn’t necessarily have the time or inclination to maintain one! For the true gardener, look out for our new range of Camellias and Hellebores, specially selected to flower in time for the big day!