autumnAs the leaves change into their beautiful autumn colours, and you awaken to a distinct chill in the air, you realise that winter is just around the corner.

Although we had some warmer days over September, the autumn is now definitely here for real. It’s a beautiful time of year, with the trees changing colour.

Autumn-GardeningSometimes it may seem pointless raking, when the wind blows even more leaves onto the lawn, but just think of all the lovely leaf mould you can make!

It might not sound particularly inspiring, but leaf mould is a really useful soil improver or mulch, and can even be used as seed-sowing compost if left for long enough. And it’s very easy to make!

October is a good time to start the process of turning all those fallen autumn leaves into leaf mould. Rake up leaves weekly and stash them in black bin liners with a few holes punched in the side and bottom. When almost full, sprinkle with water, shake and tie, before storing in a shady spot.

Leaf mould takes about a year to mature and makes a great top dressing for woodland plants such as rhododendrons and is an excellent and FREE home-grown substitute.

hedgehogIf you have  more interest in preserving the wildlife in your garden, then remember you can leave small heaps of leaves in sheltered areas for hibernating mammals and insects – this will also help to attract ground feeding birds.

Either way, it’s really important to rake up fallen leaves, particularly those that have landed on your lawn. A thick layer of leaves will smother a lawn, enabling disease and weakening the grass, and if left to linger for too long will turn it yellow.

Remember to also clean your gutters and downspouts to remove the fallen leaves and other debris. Plugged gutters can cause serious damage to your home as well as your garden when the winter rain and snow arrives.