What to do in the mindful garden in Autumn
If you’re new to gardening you may think that there’s nothing to do in the garden during autumn and winter. You’re feeling anxiety about where you’re going to get your daily mindfulness fix from. Never fear, I’ve got you. Here’s 10 ideas of some mindful gardening activities for you to try during autumn.
Tidy beds and borders
Many flower and vegetable plants growing in your garden will be starting to die back.
Choose a few more sculptural seed heads such as Echinacea and Phlomis to leave in the border over winter, they look gorgeous covered in frost and provide the perfect subject to study in a mindful moment over winter.
Cut back the remaining dead plants to just above the soil and compost them. Leaving the roots in the ground will allow all the nutrients they contain to be released back into the soil for next year's plants.
Sow some hardy annual seeds
You can give your garden a head start in spring by sowing some hardier seeds now.
Ideally you will need a greenhouse or a cold frame to grow them in over winter otherwise your window sills will be VERY crowded!
Ammi majus, Orlaya grandiflora and cornflowers are a good place to start.
You’ll need a seed tray or some pots, compost, plant labels and pen and your seeds.
While you sow, really notice the seeds, do they remind you of anything?
Continue to harvest dahlias
The Queens of the autumn garden. These beauties will put on a dazzling display right up until the last frost.
Traditionally from Mexico they can’t handle the cold and will turn black and mushy if the frost gets them.
Until then keep snipping bunches for the house, to give to loved ones and deadheading any spent blooms to keep them flowering for longer.
You’ll need a pair of secateurs or snips. Focus on the feeling of the secateurs in your hands as you harvest them. Do they make a sound as they snip through the stem?
Divide perennial plants
Perennial plants are ones that die back over winter and come back again in the spring.
Some of them form clumps and can get quite congested meaning they don’t flower as well. If you notice this happening then you can divide them:
🌱 Lift the plants using a spade or fork.
🌱 Some plants such as Heuchera and Hostas, will easily pull apart others such as Delphinium you will need a clean sharp knife to cut them apart.
🌱 You can then replant the new plants elsewhere in the garden or pot them up to give away.
Apply an autumn lawn feed
Your lawn has probably taken a battering over the summer, extreme sun, not a lot of rain, kids running about on it.
So now the weather is cooler and the rain has arrived it's time to give it a bit of TLC. Apply an autumn lawn feed which will help the roots to grow which will in turn promote strong healthy leaf growth that can withstand the winter temperatures.
Pop a good playlist on and head out with your lawn feed to have a good boogie while you sprinkle the feed all over the lawn.
Plant spring flowering bulbs
Often the first signs of life in Spring, bulbs need a good while in the ground to grow ready to put on a brightly coloured show for you in Springtime.
One of the easiest flowers to grow for the greatest reward. Here’s how:
🌷 Plant them at a depth of 3 times the height of the bulb.
🌷 In the ground the space between the bulbs should be twice the bulb’s width apart to ensure good flowering.
🌷 In containers you can plant them closer with a bulb's width between each one.
Tulips and daffodils are a good place to start.
Make leaf mould
As the trees shed their leaves our gardens can end up covered! These leaves are like gold to the mindful gardener. Once you and the kids have had fun mucking about in them. Collect them up into empty compost bags, make sure they are moist and pierce a few holes in the bags with a garden fork.
Store them somewhere out of the way (behind the shed/ garage) and next year they will have become crumbly nutrient-rich leaf mould to feed to your plants.
Plant vegetables to grow over winter
Just because the temperature has dropped doesn't mean things won’t be growing. Spring Cabbages and Winter lettuces thrive during winter time as their names suggest. If you’re a garlic lover now is the time to get your hands in the soil and plant your garlic.
Let the soil run through your fingers, is it damp or dry? What does it smell like? Take a mindful moment while you are planting to pause and notice what you’re doing.
Make a scented bulb display for indoors
The garden may be resting and gathering energy before spring but that's no reason not to have some floral colour in your life. Hyacinths and paperwhite daffodils can be ‘forced’ to make an indoor scented Christmas display.
Forcing is when you trick the bulbs into believing its spring before it is so you get early flowers.
Plant your bulbs now in a container with no holes. Keep them somewhere dark and cool but dry. Check every so often to keep them moist and after about 12 weeks they can be brought indoors to flower.
Keep watering your seedlings
Just because it's cold and damp outside doesn't mean your seedlings won’t need watering. A daily 5 minutes checking for signs of new growth and giving them a sprinkle of water provides the perfect mindful gardening activity to help you switch off.
Focus on the sound of the water contacting the soil and the smell of the damp soil that is released for maximum wellbeing benefit.
If you’d like to learn how to do any of the mindful gardening activities mentioned above and work with me to devise an autumn plan for your garden then book onto my How to start a garden: Autumn 1 to 1 package.