As autumn approaches it is time to start thinking about what needs to be done in the garden before the winter sets in. This is a good time of year to plant shrubs, trees, perennials and of course, spring flowering bulbs and winter flowering pansies.

GENERAL – Start autumn digging. Build a compost heap and clear up any dead and dying plant material. Plan next years flowers and vegetables. Remember this month is the ideal time for planting evergreens – there is still time for the roots to become established before the cold weather comes.

VEGETABLES – Get all spring cabbage planted before the end of the month if possible. Lift and store potatoes and other tender root crops. Lift spring sown onion and dry.

FRUIT – Place grease bands round the trunks of fruit tress about three foot from the ground. This prevents wingless pests from climbing the trunk and laying their eggs. Continue picking tree fruits as they ripen and store any keeping varieties of apples and pears.

FLOWERS – Plant out spring flowering bulbs except tulips, why not try potting up some bulbs in containers? Prune rambling and climbing roses when they have finished flowering. Trim hedges. Start preparing new beds and borders. Plant out winter pansies, stocks, primroses, polyanthus, wallflowers, forget-me-not, bellis, aubrietia etc.

GREENHOUSE – Reduce watering and stop feeding as growth slows for the winter. Sow hardy annuals including sweet peas. Check and service any heaters before the frosts begin. Bring in geraniums, fuchsias and chrysanthemums for over wintering.

LAWNS – Sow now for new lawns. Reduce the amount of mowing and do not cut the grass too short. Spike the lawn to alleviate summer compaction. Feed with autumn lawn feed.

TREES & SHRUBS – Cut back wisteria. Mulch trees and shrubs. Trim hedges when necessary.