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How to Get a Kickass Autumn Garden: Top Tips from a Green-Fingered Blogger

David Corscadden

Beyond the Wild Garden blogger David Corscadden reveals his ultimate green-fingered loves – and his essential advice for autumnal gardening…

I first got involved in gardening by following my grandfather around his garden from age four. I began to understand the potential of nature and ultimately went on to study horticulture at UCD.

My horticultural heroine is Carol Klein. Having met her at the Carlow Garden Festival last year, I have gained a greater appreciation of her work and pure passion for plants.

The first plant I ever fell for was a sunflower. I grew it from a seed in primary school and then planted it in my garden. I think I just marvelled at how such a tall, beautiful flower could grow from a tiny seed. It’s still one of my favourite flowers.

My current favourite plant is Salvia ‘Madeline’. I discovered it at Bloom last year and I had to fight off some other people to buy it. It’s made a great addition to my garden and is great at attracting bees.

Salvia 'Madeline'

Salvia ‘Madeline’

My favourite plant to grow is borage. Not only can the flowers be used to add interest to food, but it requires no work at all.

My must-visit garden store in Ireland is Johnstown Garden Centre in Naas. I always find their plants to be great quality and the staff are really well informed.

My favourite GIY food is carrots. I just don’t think you can ever beat the taste of carrots that are fresh from your own garden. I also like to grow different varieties and colours. Last year was all about a rainbow mix of white, purple, yellow and orange.

My go-to gardening book is Carol Klein’s Grow Your Own Veg (Mitchell Beazley, €18.75, Eason), to answer all  your vegetable-growing questions.

My top gardening tool is a sturdy straight-edged spade. It can obviously be used for planting but is extremely useful for dividing plants and edging flower beds.

My dream plant destination is Japan. I love the concept and design of oriental gardens – they are so different to my own garden.

A rust-coloured Japanese garden

A rust-coloured Japanese garden

NOW, GET YOUR AUTUMN GARDEN IN SHAPE…
This is an extremely busy time of year in the garden and the work you do here can make life much easier when spring rolls around.
1. Collect leaves and turn them into leaf mould.
2. Plant spring bulbs, not just daffodils but look at fringed tulips or snowdrops as well as bluebells.
3. Cut back herbaceous borders and clear dead foliage.
4. Tackle weeds. Ensure you go into winter with a blank slate.
5. Cut back shrubs that have got too big for their positions.
6. Plant new trees and shrubs, early in the season.
7. Clean out pots with disinfectant; store away till spring.
8. Plant windowboxes with winter-flowering plants. Violas and heathers work very well under-planted with spring bulbs.
9. Collect seeds – a great way of saving money next year. Store them in brown envelopes and label correctly.
10. Sow green manure on vegetable beds that will be left bare during winter. This will add nutrients to the soil.

Beyond the Wild Garden

Portrait Christine Burns

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