Autumn in the yard

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I love to go out walking at this time of year and bring home little finds for the house: rose hips, conkers and seed heads for an everlasting display. And many gardeners get to do the things I can only dream of (until we manage to get that much longed-for bigger plot). Things like having a good burn-up, and harvesting fruit from the trees.

But until then we have our own little space which still requires some post-summer maintenance. And lately we've pulled up the tired-looking annuals from pots and window boxes, and re-planted containers with rich-hued autumnal plants. Heathers, deep purple Heucharas, miniature bronze Chrysanthemums... And another plant which I love at this time of year: the Physalis (Chinese Lantern). Again, it's a good choice if you like an indoor display as the orange, papery heads look lovely once dried out.

We've also planted bulbs ready for the spring. So far we've gone for Muscari, snowdrops and a selection of dwarf Narcissi but I do love a good tulip - particularly the lily-flowered or parrot varieties. There is more buying yet to be done. And as well as ripping out the things which are past their best I'm planning to divide the Hosta. Apparently once they start to die back, Hostas are ready to be split and ours looks as though it could be broken into eight or nine new plants.

One thing I did find alarming was my beloved Magnolia Stellata (a birthday present) starting to turn yellow and drop its leaves but this is, according to the experts, perfectly normal at this time of year. Fingers crossed it will fare well over the winter months and flower beautifully in 2015.

I'm loving being outdoors at the moment planting, planning, clearing and sweeping. The soft light and mild days are wonderful, but that slight chill in the air means there's one gardening must-have that should always be within reach: a big mug of tea. Happy autumnal gardening!

Thanks for reading,