Leaves are falling rapidly, and wind and rain are on the increase. Tender plants will need protecting from frost, gales and freezing rains. Move plants into the greenhouse, or into a sheltered spot, but if you can’t, it is worth wrapping plants or pots in situ. Remember winter can be a tough time for birds in terms of water and food, so keep supplies well topped up.

Surveys have shown that most gardeners think spring is the best time to plant a garden – but nothing could be further from the truth. The weather in spring is changeable and often very cold; and after a hard winter the soil is often waterlogged, wind-scoured and depleted.

In autumn and early winter, by contrast, there’s still the sun’s warmth in the ground,  rain has brought just the right amount of moisture, and plants have a much better chance of establishing a good root system. That means your plants grow stronger and healthier, getting them off to a really good start next spring.

Among the trees, shrubs, perennials and of course bulbs you can be planting now for colour next year are:

  • Trees for year-round colour including Amelanchier lamarckii and Acer griseum
  • Fruit trees including apples, pears, plums and cherries
  • Shrubs such as Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and Itea ilicifolia, with gorgeous long spring catkins
  • Climbing, rambling and shrub roses
  • Raspberries, strawberries and blackcurrants
  • Daffodils, tulips and crocuses