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Green Fingers in Autumn

Down at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall Briget is focusing on wildlife

What a beautiful summer we have had. This summer, I have seen so many more insects than usual. In July we had swarms of butterflies, Peacock, Red Admiral, Coma, tortoiseshells, Coppers, meadow blue and lots of little brown ones that I could not identify! The birds have had lots to eat and I have seen them carry on rearing fledglings quite late into the season.

Did you know that 41% of insects face extinction? We can all work together to take small actions for insects and wildlife. This could include creating an insect-friendly flower bed or planted container. If you have a lawn, you could leave patches to provide food and shelter. Stop using harmful pesticides and encourage insects by building safe spaces for them such as bug hotels or piles of deadwood and stems.

Elsewhere in the garden, its time to prepare for the end of the season.
In the ornamental garden, cut perennials back but leave any dead heads with seeds for the birds. Leave some vegetation to just die back on the surface of the soil. This creates a safe place for insects and stops weeds as well as putting goodness back into the soil.

Take root cuttings of Anemone, Verbascum and Comfrey, sow sweet peas and plant winter bedding and bulbs. Rake up some of the fallen leaves to make leaf mould, store them in compost bags that have holes in them. Plant shrubs and trees, lift and store dahlias and other tender annuals.

In the vegetable garden harvest any remaining squash or gourds, cut back peas and beans and leave the roots in to rot down naturally. Cut down asparagus, divide rhubarb, plant garlic and plant autumn onions. Take hardwood cuttings (after leaf fall) of currants and gooseberries, plant strawberry runners.

In the wildlife garden sow yellow rattle in existing lawn in early October. Rake the cut grass and sow the rattle into the grass. Help winter bees by planting plants such as Heathers, Lonicera fragrantissima, Mahonia, Hellebores.

Clean out your pond by removing excess leaves and other debris while wildlife is less active. Leave debris on the side of the pond for a few days so that any creatures can crawl back in.

Don’t be too tidy, let windfall apples lie and pile up cuttings from the garden rather than burn them.

Check bonfires for hedgehogs before lighting.

Let’s all be a bit messy in the garden and help wildlife!


Bridget runs Caves Folly Nurseries on Evendine Lane in  Colwall (WR13 6DX). They are open from March until October, Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 - 4. You can contact them on 01684 540631 or visit their website: