Tamsin Westhorpe in her garden

Autumn is here – which means there’s plenty to be done in the garden. Fortunately our Open Gardens ambassador Tamsin Westhorpe has lots of timely gardening tips to share. 

There’s nothing like being in an autumn garden in the morning. I love the mist, the cobwebs that drape themselves over the plants, the thud of the apples as they drop to the ground, and the spots of gold offered by leaves on the turn.

It’s a magical time – and a time when there is so much to be done in the garden.

It’s the perfect season to plan a new garden or make changes to an existing one. Before the ground gets hard with frost, new borders can be dug and perennials, trees and shrubs planted.

October and November are the ideal months for lifting, dividing and moving plants. Make these changes now and plants won’t need so much watering in summer – leave it until spring and you’ll be on constant watering duty in the warmer months.

Speaking of spring, it’s now that spring flowering bulbs need to be planted. Why not treat yourself to muscari for small pots, bluebells for wooded areas and tulips for urns? The choice is endless and the joy of seeing bulbs emerge in spring is priceless.

With the striking autumn leaf colours offered by so many deciduous plants, gardens take on a warm glow in autumn. However, these leaves will soon fall and give us another job to be done. Clearing leaves is a great way to stay fit – and warm.

Before throwing leaves onto the compost heap, consider making your own leaf mould (a wonderful soil conditioner). Simply place wet leaves in a black plastic bag, pierce the bag a few time and then leave it in a corner and forget about it until this time next year. If you remember turn the bag upside down occasionally.

Tamsin Westhorpe planting bulbs

Top five autumn reminders
  • Remove fallen leaves from lawns to prevent damage to the turf.
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs in pots and borders.
  • Choose new trees and shrubs for the garden and plant anytime from now until spring.
  • Lift and divide perennials that have outgrown their spot.
  • Protect tender plants from frost.
Share your autumn plot

To enjoy the best of autumn, head out to an Open Garden or woodland near you and experience the autumn colours and flowers. Most notable flowers are asters and colchicums.

If your visits inspire you to open your own garden, then why not consider doing so for the British Red Cross? We are keen to welcome all gardeners to open at any time of the year. Find out more about Open Gardens.

Or maybe Proud of Your Garden is more for you? All you need to do is invite friends, relatives and neighbours to your garden – whether its a balcony, an allotment or a community plot – and suggest a donation.

You can invite people for coffee on the patio or an apple tasting under the tree – it’s up to you. Just send off for your pack and set a date.