The weather has become so unpredictable but there is no doubt that generally the climate in the UK is becoming drier and warmer. However, we are also experiencing high winds and heavy prolonged spells of rain, not always when expected! This volatility will threaten the success of planting schemes, and means we should be considering tougher, reliable plants, and thinking about how to support them as they combat the changing climate.
Giving plants a chance to develop a healthy, strong root system is imperative if the plant is to thrive in flood or drought. This is best achieved by planting in the Autumn, when growth above soil slows down, but the ground is still warm and there is usually still moisture in the soil. The plants can then concentrate on building a secure base and healthy network of roots under the soil, which will successfully support growth, flower and fruit/seed in the next growing season. They will continue to focus on establishing their root systems until the ground freezes and will be ready for a full performance the following year!
Autumn is also the best time to plant trees, hedges, roses, fruit trees and shrubs, and of course spring flowering bulbs. So in many ways, good gardeners know that Autumn is the start of the horticultural year, not the end of it!
Anne Fraser and Caroline Streets
07729 835988 & 07930 876348