Can you plant shrubs and flowers under trees?

Can you plant shrubs and flowers under trees?

Yes, you can plant shrubs and flowers under trees, but there are a few caveats and considerations to make. First of all, planting under trees is probably the hardest place to grow plants in your garden. Not only do trees leave no root space, but their leaves reduce light and they are thirsty, leaving little water for other organisms. They also tend to change the soil pH, taking away essential nutrients for other plants. All of these aspects make it difficult to grow plants under them and many, quite simply, won’t make it.

What can you do to make plants survive under trees?

Consider the following…

What type of trees are you planting under?
Large evergreen conifer trees offer the worst conditions to plant under! You will find they will have large shaded areas around them and the soil will be powder dry 12 months of the year. Your plants will need to be drought tolerant. Deciduous small trees with open canopies, such as Rowans (Sorbus) or most fruit trees, will be a smaller obstacle to overcome in all ways.

The age of the tree(s)
More established trees will also change what options you have available to you. Newly planted trees can be underplanted with shrubs that will establish without issue. By the time a tree gets greedy with resources your shrubs will have their roots down deep enough to get what they need.

The aspect of the area
Don’t overlook which side of the tree you’re looking to underplant. Only planting areas to the north side of a tree will be in full shade. The south side of a tree will be in full sun and so that completely changes the list of plants you can use. The west/east sides of a tree will be in part shade, with the areas only being shaded by the canopy of a tree for part of the day.

Money and time available
To successfully plant under large established trees, you will need quite a bit of free time and money. The larger the area, the greater the resources you’ll need to put into making the project a success. Often it can be cheaper to remove the tree altogether and instead install screening and/ or replace the trees with young less greedy species.

Other low cost and low maintenance options to consider: Make a barked seating area underneath your tree or even create a wildlife sanctuary where you can let nature take over by not removing weeds.

The Soil
Most planting areas under established trees will be acidic due to rotting leaf-fall. Soil under conifer trees may be dangerously acidic and severely limit plants you can grow. It’s always a good idea to do a soil test and even lime the soil if needed to bring the pH up to 6-7.
A clay soil is usually the wettest; under a tree it can become compacted and solid, not letting water through the top crust however this also means nutrients will be held onto better. Sandy soils will be easier to water but you will struggle to get nutrients to your plants. Beech and yew trees famously add toxins into the soil to discourage other plants. If these are the established trees you’re planting under, you will struggle.

Wind & Pests
With all new planting it’s important to consider damage from rabbits, hares, cats and wind. If these are not a problem where you live then you don’t need to worry. If in doubt either choose wind/ animal resistant plants or protect your new planting area with fencing.

Top Tips

For more top tips for growing plants around trees see our last blog: Top tips for growing plants around trees.

Choosing the right plants
Choosing the right plants will play a massive role in their survival. Each plant must be suitable for the situation around it.

To help with plant selection under trees, we’ve put together a list of plants that can be used in different situations:

Drought tolerant plants for part-full shade (for under evergreen trees):
- Viburnum tinus
- Viburnum x bodnantense
- Euonymus japonicus
- Sedum spectabile
- Pulmonaria officinalis
- Begenia cordifolia
- Eranthis hyemalis
- Narcissus (any)
- Cotoneaster (any)
- Berberis darwinii
- Choisya ternata
- Mohonia x media (don’t use in high winds)
- Populus deltoides ‘purple tower’
- Lamium maculatum
- Alchemilla mollis
- Galanthus (any)
- Hedera (any)
- Ilex (any)
- Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae
- Dryopteris wallichiana
- Matteuccia struthiopteris
- Cornus alba
- Cornus kousa
- Cornus mas
- Parrotia persica
- Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Atropurpureum’
- Sorbus hupehensis
- Buddleia (any)


Dry shade / part shade plants (for raised beds or under small deciduous trees):
- Everything in the list above
- Hosta (any)
- Rhododendron (any)
- Hakonechloa macra
- Anemone japonica
- Anemone blanda
- Astilbe (any)
- Leucanthemum (any)
- Thalictrum (any)
- Astrantia (any)
- Origanum (any)
- Acer Palmatum
- Acer campestre
- Carpinus betulus
- Liriope muscari
- Brunnera macrophylla
- Most ferns
- Symphyotrichum cordifolium
- Skimmia japonica
- Viburnum davidii
- Meconopsis (any)
- Berberis (any)
- Ophiopogon japonicus
- Acuba japonica (don’t use in high winds)
- Fatsia japonica (don’t use in high winds)
- Persicaria bistorta
- Phormium tenax (plain green variety)
- Filipendula (any)


Drought tolerant plants for full sun
(on the south side of a tree):

- Populus purple tower
- Santolina chamaecyparissus
- Kniphofia uvaria
- Stachys byzantina
- Nepeta (any)
- Jasminum nudiflorum
- Cupressus macrocarpa
- Sedum spectabile
- Cupressus sempervirens
- Perovskia atriplicifolia
- Rosmarinus officinalis
- Euphorbia characias
- Origanum vulgare
- Stipa tenuissima
- Helichrysum italicum
- Lavandula (any)
- Thuja orientalis
- Cupressocyparis leylandii
- Artemisia (any)
- Cytisus
- Euonymus (any)
- Phormium tenax
- Salvia (any)
- Phlomis (any)
- Ceanothus (any)
- Senecio viravira
- Thymus (any)
- Achillea filipendulina
- Cistus (any)
- Salvia officinalis
- Brachyglottis ‘Sunshine'
- Caryopteris x clandonensis
- Iberis sempervirens
- Rosmarinus officinalis
- Festuca glauca
- Elymus magellanicus
- Buddleia (any)
- Acer Rubrum
- Quercus ilex

For more information on planting design and garden design, contact Papillon directly. We have our in-house plant experts who can advise.

Top tips for growing plants around trees

Top tips for growing plants around trees

Planting around trees can be tricky in a garden.  There are many considerations to make, such as the age of the tree, the type and its aspect in your garden.  We have a few tips that will help your green friends survive under and around thirsty trees:


Raised beds

A trick Papillon uses in areas where there are trees is to raise the soil level up 300mm+.  This gives you virgin soil to use, which is outside of the tree’s root system. It’s important not to bury the trunk of the tree with soil, so consider using a partition round the trunk to prevent this. Over time, the roots of the tree can work their way into the raised bed but by that time your plants should be established. Raising the soil level up will also bring plants out of harm’s way from soil toxins.


Using a mulch & compost 

You should always plant with lots of compost and a high phosphorus feed when planting under trees! Without this, new plants under established trees will struggle. This will give extra help to the plant in an already difficult situation. A thick (25mm-40mm) mulch of bark, compost, manure or bark will reduce water loss, weed competition and add fertility to a new planted area too.


Automatic watering

Under large established conifer trees, such as pines or leylandii, you’ll need to water new planting up to 10x more than in a normal new planting conditions. You can set up irrigation to come on automatically every day of the growing season (April-November) for the first couple of years of establishment to make sure your plants are getting the water they need.


Choose the right plants

Plants that you choose must be suitable for each situation; there are plants that are drought tolerant and good for partly or fully shaded areas and others that are more suitable for full sunlight. We’ve put together a list of plants to use in different conditions, which will follow in our next blog, Can you plant shrubs and flowers under trees?.


For more information on garden design and garden styling please contact us directly.

APL Bronze Award 2019 Papillon Designs & Landscaping


How to dress your garden when selling your house

How to dress your garden when selling your house

Selling your house can be a stressful time, especially in a slow market.  But, there’s lots of tricks and tips you can use to get your garden looking great for prospective buyers.  Our Director, Angelique Robb, shares her tips on this in our latest blog, where she covers tidying up, doing a garden makeover and garden styling.

There are different things you can do depending on your budget.  When considering a budget, it’s best to weigh up added value with investment.  In some cases, a garden makeover can add great value to your home and help sell it or when it comes to styling your garden, you can take much of the investment with you when you move!

Tidying Up

Doing simple things like raking leaves, pruning shrubs and disposing of rubbish is a good starting point.  Go a step further by removing dilapidated sheds, outbuildings and old play frames, which will create a larger sense of space.  Keeping on top of the grass and strimming the edges (weekly) will help make the garden look smart.  Don’t forget to clear away all toys and garden tools too.

Pressure wash paths and prune overgrown shrubs. Try to avoid removing too much planting, as weeds will grow, which can create extra work.  Rake up leaves and remove clutter, making sure all debris is removed off site.

You’d be surprised at how much dirt accumulates on outdoor paving, fencing and decking through time.  Cleaning the mud off will show the contrast and, in some cases, bring them up like new!

Estimated cost: £500-£1000.



Garden Makeover

A garden makeover will take a bit more investment, but this can make a big difference to the look of your garden.  Clear all overgrown planting and tidy up the garden, as above.  For a tidy backdrop, install new plants -  using the same variety to create simplicity.   Lay new turf and consider adding interest by shaping it; adding shape to your lawn can also make the space feel bigger.


Pressure Washing

Pressure wash paths and strim the edges.  Clean pathways and re-sand or re-joint paths.  Remove old plant pots and clear away branches and leaves.  See Papillon’s example below of the difference it can make:

Give fences and furniture a new lease of life by painting or staining woodwork.  Note that using a modern and neutral colour will appeal to more viewers.


Estimated cost: £750 - £2000

Garden Styling

After tidying and giving your garden a makeover, it’s time to trend it up by styling it.  Garden styling helps the buyer imagine living in your garden.  Although this option can cost more, the huge benefit is that you can take the investment with you when you leave, as you aren’t investing in the property itself.


How do you style a garden?

  • Cover outdated paving with an outdoor rug
  • Invest in outdoor furniture that can remain outside all year long
  • Use planters or garden screens to block unwanted views or cosy-up the space
  • Add a barbecue area e.g. a fire pit, gas fire or pizza oven
  • Use outdoor lighting that plugs into outdoor sockets (especially if showing the house at night)

Set the table and put on the fire.  Help potential buyers imagine what it would be like using the garden.


Estimated cost: £1k – 5k

Even without a budget, there is a lot that can be done to make a garden look smarter.  Cleaning surfaces and keeping the grass cut and strimmed can really help.

These tips have been put together with house-sellers in mind, but they can be used by all homeowners, to help them make the most of their garden and enjoy it more!


If you'd like help with a garden makeover or garden styling then get in touch.  Papillon is a member of the Association of Landscape Gardeners.

Good luck with the move!



Ballater garden recognised at national APL Awards in London

Summer house in Ballater garden | Papillon Designs & Landscaping

Ballater garden recognised at national APL Awards in London

A garden in Ballater, designed by Papillon, has been recognised in this year’s APL (Association of Professional Landscapers) Awards, in the category Overall Design & Build. Garden Designer, Angelique Robb of Papillon Designs & Landscaping, was awarded a Bronze prize for her work on the garden, which was redesigned and rebuilt following the town’s bad floods in 2016.

Recognition came in light of Papillon’s efforts to design a garden, that not only is visually appealing, but also one that is weatherproof.  This was by building a rain garden and adding soil retention in vulnerable areas.  A unique larch-cladded artist’s studio was also built using stilts to allow rainwater to flow beneath it and drain away.  The garden blends into its surrounding environment easily with the use of local natural stone and native plants.


Rain Garden Solution

Angelique comments: “Technically, this garden took quite a bit of thought to design.  With an adjacent nature reserve and a slope running towards the property, we had to come up with a solution to drain and absorb rainwater.  Building a rain garden was the best solution, but adding a studio was always going to be tricky, as it could potentially block the natural flow of water and encourage flooding.  So, after researching a few different options, we came up with the idea of building the studio on stilts and we’re pleased to say that it works perfectly! We feel very proud to be recognised by The APL in these prestigious awards.”

The garden was designed and constructed by Aberdeen-based Papillon and is one of 32 projects the firm completed in 2017-2018.  Papillon is an award-winning garden design company that specialises in designing and constructing gardens throughout the North-east of Scotland.  This is the second year running that the firm has been awarded a prize at the APL Awards.



The APL Award were held on 15th March 2019 at The Brewery, London.  The awards, which are UK-wide, help celebrate and recognise outstanding landscaping work carried out by the association’s members.  To find out more about The APL visit

For more information on garden design, please contact us directly.

APL Bronze Award 2019 Papillon Designs & Landscaping


Rain garden in Ballater | Papillon Designs & Landscaping

Milltimber garden project offers homeowners a low maintenance, modern space to relax

Milltimber garden project - Papillon Designs & Landscaping

Milltimber garden project offers homeowners a low maintenance, modern space to relax


To create a contemporary garden space that will make for easier living with low maintenance, whilst providing a space that looks good and can be enjoyed.


- More parking
- Easy maintenance
- Nicer path leading to the back garden
- A larger patio area
- Furniture to make it easier to watch the children play
- A hot tub

What we did:

Papillon re-designed the front garden and removed the grass altogether, making it easier to maintain. Doing this made way for a driveway extension, which now has space to park up to five cars.

To the rear of the property, we added Millboard decking, a sunken hot tub and constructed a modern cream and grey porcelain paving area, which runs along the length of the property. A bench will be added to the front of the house to make it easy to watch the kids.

Dry-river beds were planted throughout the garden and offer a modern look. They are easy on the eye with sporadic planting adding a pop of colour. This, along with the extended driveway, makes the garden low maintenance for the busy homeowners.

Dry-river beds were added to the boundaries of the garden with evergreen planting.


> Hot tub
> New patio in porcelain paving
> Extended lock-block driveway
> Dry-river beds with planting
> Bench (to follow)
> Bollard lighting

The outcome:

A contemporary garden full of interest and ready for fun.

We have created a space that is manageable for our clients, with a design that makes for a relaxing atmosphere in a space where hobbies can be enjoyed, serenity can be found, and family memories created.

View more pictures of this garden in our portfolio page.

For more information on garden design by Papillon, please contact us directly.



Sporadic planting
Lock-block driveway
Porcelain patio in cream and grey. Papillon Designs & Landscaping.

What will 2019 hold for your garden? Is it time to write a Garden Plan?

How to create a garden plan in 2019

What will 2019 hold for your garden?  Is it time to write a Garden Plan?

It’s that time of year when people start thinking forward and putting in place New Years’ resolutions. When it comes to your garden, a garden plan can be a great tool to help you think ahead and given that its ‘tools down-time’ for most, January is a great time to do it.

As well as giving you something to look forward to, your garden will benefit from a bit of attention and it’s good to set goals and to keep control of your garden before it starts taking control of you.

Papillon has experts to help you with this process...making the process quicker.  By using our years of experience in design and construction, we can come up with ideas that are innovative.

What do you want from your garden?

So, let’s start thinking about what you want from your garden, not just in the short term, but also the long term.
To help you create a garden plan, we’ve pulled together ten steps to help:

1. Draw a plan

Start by drawing out a map or plan of your current garden to scale. Once you’ve gone through many of the points below, you can start to draw a plan of your new garden.

2. Make a list

Write a list of what you like and dislike about your garden, as well as what your aspirations are and your ‘big dreams’.
Some examples of problem areas:

  • A need for more plants/vegetables/colour
  • A desire for an outdoor room to enjoy the garden all seasons
  • It’s not private enough
  • There’s nowhere for the kids to play
  • There is a damp patch in the garden
  • No sitting space
  • The garden is too exposed to wind, so I never get out to enjoy it
  • I have a big slope in the garden (see our previous blog on what to do with a sloping garden).
  • My plants aren’t growing

3. Lifestyle - how can your garden work around you?

Being aware of your lifestyle will help you work out what is realistic and what will conflict with your plan.
Some areas to consider:

  • No time for gardening
  • Having young kids
  • A lifestyle of entertaining
  • No gardening knowledge or skills
  • A disability that impacts on the time spent in the garden
  • No time to learn about gardening

4. What are you going to do about it?

What actions can you set to help you combat the problem areas and build your dream garden? Write them down.

5. Consider the variables

Go through your action list and consider each of the factors below – do they have an impact?
Are your actions practical solutions?  Will they work in YOUR garden?

  • Wind
  • Sunlight
  • Heavy foot traffic areas
  • Shade
  • Maturity height and width of plants
  • Soil
  • Drainage
  • Views
  • Access to Water

Choosing plants, as an example, can be difficult. Not every plant will take to the soil it’s planted in, so more research may be required. For damp areas, you might want to use thirsty plants to help dry out the surrounding areas. Ease of care is another factor that could influence choice. Native plants are recommended, as these will take less care and are likely to give you the best results. However, be aware as these can take over and overcome other ornamental plants.

6. Resources – people, materials, budget

People: think about the resources you have and the people you know who could lend a hand. Many of the actions will be easy enough to undertake yourself, but for some, it might be best to seek professional help and advice. Speaking to an APL accredited garden designer, such as Papillon, can help.

Materials: what materials will you use and how will you source them? Carry out your research and consider different materials for the elements they’ll be exposed to.

Budget: how much do you have to spend on your garden? This could have an impact on the materials and plants that you use, so it’s good to understand this at the outset.

7. Upcycle & recycle

If you can upcycle old goods and bring new life to them, then that is great! This will help to protect the environment and reduce emissions. Think hard about what you need for each project and have a look at some of the second-hand sales websites out there to see if you can source second-hand goods. If throwing things out, be sure to check if they are recyclable and dispose of them ethically.

8. Prioritise your list

Refine your list by highlighting the tasks that are ‘do-able’ within the next 12 months, as well as the ones that are causing problems. Tackling the real problem areas first may bring you the happiness you need to plough on. If your big problem areas are too big, then look for some ‘quick-wins’ to keep you motivated or get someone else to help.

9. Hire the right people

Ensure that your construction company have the relevant qualifications and a warranty period. A good place to look is Association of Professional Landscapers (APL).

10. Get started

Once you’ve outlined your actions and considered your resources, materials, waste, etc. it is time to get started! Do one thing at a time and don’t forget to take before and after pictures to help you see and monitor your progress.

Good luck!

For more information on garden design, please contact Papillon directly. Good luck with your garden for 2019!

New town garden offers low maintenance with a contemporary look

New town garden offers low maintenance with a contemporary look

Papillon has recently completed a town garden design & construction project in Garthdee, Aberdeen.

The design was built to fit with the lifestyle of the owner, giving them a garden to relax in, without the burden of a high maintenance space.  The steeply sloped garden was transformed into a relaxing open space to include planting beds, retaining walls, stone paving and a patio.


Garden design for Garthdee project
Decking area in Garthdee project - Papillon Garden Designs
Stone globes in town garden- Papillon Designs & Landscaping

To add to the contemporary style, a stone globe water feature was positioned as a focal point next to the main patio.  To complete the look, black decorative screens were added to create interest and screen the main patio area. On sunny days, the sun can be enjoyed on the composite Millboard decking that has deliberately been positioned to maximise sunlight.


Garden features:

  • Retaining walls with contemporary bricks
  • Natural sandstone paving area & steps
  • Composite Millboard Decking area
  • Composite Decorative screens
  • Stone water feature with light built-in
  • Planting to soften the hard landscaping

Before pictures...

Before pic - Garthdee garden project, Aberdeen
Before Garthdee, Aberdeen

For more information on garden design and landscaping, please contact Papillon directly.

5 Great ideas for outdoor garden rooms

5 Great ideas for outdoor garden rooms

The addition of an outdoor living space within a garden can bring many benefits for home owners. Probably the most obvious benefit is that they provide a welcome shelter from the elements. Whether seeking shade on sunny days or shelter come rain, sleet or snow, they offer a place within your garden that you can enjoy in comfort all year round.

However, they offer much more than simply a place to retreat to in bad weather. Indeed, outdoor rooms will often become a focal point within a garden; a popular place to entertain and dine with friends and family, or to escape to for peace and tranquillity. For younger family members they can be fantastic playrooms and great for parties.

For keen gardeners, the addition of a glasshouse or an orangery, will provide them with their very own indoor botanical garden, creating opportunities to grow and protect all sorts of flowers, plants and vegetables; the perfect place in which to pursue their horticultural passion.

It’s also worth noting that an outdoor living space will very likely increase the attraction and value of your property, so it can therefore be a good investment too.

In short, there are numerous benefits to adding an outdoor living space to your garden. If you are keen to do so, then what are your options and what should you consider before deciding what to go for?

Here are our garden room ideas…

1. The Biossun Pergola

The innovative and elegant Biossun Pergola offers a contemporary outdoor living space with unrivalled flexibility. Whether it is weather to be enjoyed or to take shelter from the wind or rain, the Biossun can be adjusted for your comfort. The structure, which comes in all colours, can be situated within your garden or can be attached to your house. Made from strong and weatherproof aluminium, they are a fantastic addition to any home or garden.

Featured here, is a Biossun that Papillon installed in Bishopton recently.  It adds character to the property, as well as additional outdoor living space. The electronic blind feature gives the owners the flexibility of closing off the west-facing section to create privacy or opening it up for more air on warmer days.

Although the Biossun comes in many colours, the black chosen here works really well with the style of building and natural stonework.

ossun installed at Bishopton by Papillon Garden Designs & Landscaping
Papillon blog - example of orangery by Vale Garden Houses

2. Orangeries

From the Biossun’s innovative design and technology, we move onto an outdoor room with a long heritage and an enduring appeal, the Orangery. Indeed, the origins of Orangeries can be traced back to 15th century Renaissance Italy, when the concept of bringing the garden into the home became popular. Orangeries, as the name suggests, were primarily used for the growing of citrus trees, although are now widely used for plants of many varieties. Modern day Orangeries retain many of the Roman features and will add a classical elegance to any garden or house.

The Orangery shown to the right is a bespoke design by Vale Garden Houses.  Adjoined to the property, it creates additional space for the home and a sitting area for the garden, which is accessible through French doors.

3. Victorian Glasshouses

Victorian Glasshouses make a lovely addition to any garden. Of course, for gardening enthusiasts, as with Orangeries, their primary role will be for growing and protecting plants, flowers, vegetables and fruits. A British design icon, the classic features have changed little since the Victorian era, however, modern glasshouse are made using superior materials and methods, making them sturdy and weatherproof.

Pictured (right) is a Victorian Glasshouse that Papillon built earlier this year in Hatton of Fintray, Aberdeenshire.  The glasshouse was part of a complete garden design and construction project that included both hard and soft landscaping. Adding further character to the garden, this beautiful Victorian glasshouse was built in blending colours.  As well as adding visual appeal, it provides an area to grow further plants and vegetables and offers its owners a relaxing sitting area to enjoy the garden in all seasons.  Working with suppliers, Hartley Botanic, Papillon built the brick base in advance of the glass panel installation.

Summer house in Ballater built by Papillon Designs & Landscaping

4. Summer Houses

As with gazebos, summer houses come in many forms and styles, from rustic wooden huts to sophisticated living spaces, fitted with all the mod-cons. As such, they can be used in many ways. Whether you’re looking to add an outdoor room to your garden for work, rest or play, then a summer house could be the best solution.


The summerhouse pictured, was built by Papillon in 2017 in Ballater, Aberdeenshire.  It provides a sanctuary for the owners to enjoy all year round.  Used as additional living space and an art studio, it is tastefully decorated and fully fitted with lighting and heating for extra comfort.

5. Gazebos

Gazebos come in various guises, but are generally stand-alone temporary structures, situated within a garden, that provide shelter from the elements. Traditionally, they were positioned within gardens in spots that offered a panoramic view, with the name gazebo derived from the Latin to gaze.

Pictured here is an example of a temporary gazebo, used as a patio cover to provide shade on those lovely hot days.

Papillon Designs & Landscaping - Example of a Gazebo

We hope that the options we’ve looked at here give you some food for thought if you’re considering adding an outdoor living space to you garden. As you can see, there are many different options available. The important thing is to consider carefully which option is most suitable for your needs and your garden space. Get it right and you’ll have an outdoor living space that you and your friends and family will enjoy for years to come.

For more information on garden rooms, please contact Papillon directly.

Biossun patio covers – as seen on TV

Look out for our latest Biossun promotional video that is currently being show on STV.  Don’t worry if you missed it, you can view it below!

The Biossun offers flexibility for outdoor living. It comes with an innovative patio cover design that includes adjustable louvres, electronic blinds, glass panels and LED lighting.

The future of outdoor living!

Available from Papillon. Visit our Biossun page for more information or contact us directly.

How to prevent frost damage in your garden this autumn

How to prevent frost damage in the garden

How to prevent frost damage in your garden…

‘Jack Frost’ is on his way and so those luscious greens and precious plants are under threat in our gardens. With the first early frosts expected in October, now is the time to work in our gardens to prevent frost damage and make the most of autumn.

Papillon Plant Specialist, Aarron Long, has put together some tips to help you care for your garden this autumn…

1. Lift and store non-hardy plants

Make sure all non-hardy plants, such as Dahlias are lifted and stored over winter in a dark, dry, frost free cold environment like a garage or a shed.


2. Protect Olives and Vines

Plants such as olives and vines need frosts to set the fruit for next year but will die at temperatures lower than -5 degrees centigrade. These plants can be left outside but need light protection such as horticultural fleece. Bringing them into an unheated greenhouse is ideal.


3. Plant bulbs, shrubs and trees now for spring/summer

Bulb planting is best done in autumn for spring and summer displays.

The bare root season is about to start, so shrub and tree planting will be more cost effective and will yield better results when done at this time of year.


4. Harvest fruit and veg before the first frost.

Harvest all your fruit and veg before the first frost.


5. Feed the roots, not the plant.

At this time of year, the foliage on plants stops growing, but the roots carry on. So, be sure to feed new planting with ‘root food’. Bonemeal is the best feed for autumn. Try to avoid feeding plants with multipurpose plant food, as you’ll encourage new leaf growth that’s susceptible to winter frosts.


6. Use mulch for protection

Mulching in autumn is a great way to protect new planting from surface root damage from winter frosts. Bark chips, leaves, compost, hay or even manure are the best mulches you can use.


7. Mow your lawn

Change the settings to a notch higher than summer months to help protect your lawn from frosts. Keep mowing once per month until November. You can even do a ‘tidy up’ mow in winter if there’s no lying snow.


8. Plant out winter bedding in beds, baskets and pots

Primulas, Early Wallflowers, Cyclamen, Bellis and even Ivy are great winter bedding plants. You can also use plants with winter berries such as Gaultheria or winter stems such as Dogwoods.


9. Dig over new beds

Dig over new beds, adding lots of compost. Follow in the tracks of farmers and turn over your new growing areas in autumn. You don’t get as many new weeds till the spring and the frosts will further break up your soil nicely for winter, creating a fine tilth.


10. Take hardwood cuttings of shrubs

Take hardwood cuttings of shrubs and let them root in a warm place over winter. Make sure you use this year’s growth for cuttings as that is the most viable material.


Lastly, it’s not only your plants and flowers that you need to consider as temperatures drop. Many people wait until Spring to varnish and paint outdoor wood, but the damage may already have been done. If you have time now, varnish/paint your outdoor wood to protect it from the harsher weather. Remember also to clear all leaves off your paths before they rot and stain.

Following these tips will help prevent frost damage and make life easier for the green-fingered come Spring.


Watching your garden change over the seasons is worth appreciating. Every day brings a different twist and the autumn colours are beautiful to watch. Enjoy the last of this seasons’ flowers and the turning of leaves before the frost takes them away for another year…. make the most of it!


Watching your garden change over the seasons is worth appreciating. Every day brings a different twist and the autumn colours are beautiful to watch. Enjoy the last of this seasons’ flowers and the turning of leaves before the frost takes them away for another year…. make the most of it!

Autumn colours