Autumn gardening tips: from our garden to yours

Acers at Standen in the Autumn

Autumn is a special time of year for many gardeners. Allotments are brimming with fruit and veg and the soil in your garden will still be warm enough to plant spring bulbs, including daffodils, tulips and crocuses.

To help you make the most of the season, we're sharing tips on soil health, flower border maintenance, choosing plants to invigorate the senses, plus much more.

The beginning of the season is all about harvesting fruit and veg and planting bulbs and seeds while the soil is still warm and soft.

Now is the time to get over to the allotment or vegetable patch to collect what you can from the last of the summer crop (courgettes, tomatoes, salads, cucumbers and runner beans) and check on apples, pears, squash and leeks, which should almost be ready for harvesting. 

Hardy annual seeds (cerinthes, ammi, scabiosa and cornflowers) provide opportunities for sowing. Bulbs (tulips, crocuses and daffodils) can also be planted in pots or flower borders. Planting and sowing during the autumn works particularly well in milder climates.  

When the leaves start to fall and we head into mid to late autumn it's a good idea to rake your lawn, cover tender plants and shrubs with fleece and prepare the soil for spring vegetable planting (see more on this below).  

The National Trust School of Gardening 

The National Trust School of Gardening is a book packed full of tips, ideas, guides and illustrations inspired by the places we care for. It has all the information you need to transform your own garden or growing space and is suitable for both new and experienced gardeners. To celebrate the launch of the book, we're sharing a video featuring the author Rebecca Bevan on a visit to Packwood House in Warwickshire. 


Caring for your flower borders

Late autumn is a great time to maintain your flower borders. In this video, Rebecca heads to Packwood House in Warwickshire to pick up some tips on lifting, dividing and replanting overgrown border plants.

Autumn is a good time to prepare your soil

Create a soil that vegetables will love 

Autumn is a good time of year for preparing clay and sandy soils for the planting of vegetables in spring. From converting weedy ground into a growing space without digging to creating green manures, The National Trust School of Gardening has everything you need to know about preparing the ground and keeping the soil healthy. Read this extract of the book for tips and tricks to use in your own garden.

School of Gardening

The National Trust School of Gardening  

From herbaceous borders to sustainable gardening, The National Trust School of Gardening is inspired by 300 years of horticultural history and top tips from our gardeners. With clear and practical advice for garden development and beautiful pictures, this guide is suitable for all experience levels. Buy a copy from our online shop.

Sensory gardens

We experience nature with all our senses and we can design our gardens and growing spaces around sight, touch, sound and smell. Our gardeners share their knowledge of plants and trees that can be planted in autumn to invigorate your senses during the winter months ahead. 

What's in season

What's in season

Keeping your plants healthy 

Healthy plants help keep us healthy too. They clean the air we breathe, provide food and support wildlife. We asked our gardeners to share their top tips on keeping plants happy and healthy so you can offer the best care to your plants at home. A lot can also be done during the autumn to ensure your garden can weather the winter months. 

We need your support 

We care for more than 200 gardens with a history spanning 400 years or more. This involves protecting a collection of 70,000 different types of plants, as well as a variety of different landscapes and historical features. Taking care of all of this is challenging and costly work and we can't do it without your help. A donation of £25 today could help us plant a rare rose shrub or contribute towards replanting a herbaceous border at one of the places in our care. 

Gardener pushing wheelbarrow

Keep gardens growing 

Now more than ever, we need gardens and parklands to escape to. Give today and together we can help nature recover and ensure our shared history continues to inspire us all. Thank you for your continued support, we couldn't keep gardens in bloom without it.

Rebecca Bevan

Rebecca Bevan

Rebecca Bevan has been a Royal Horticultural Society advisor and has written for The Garden Magazine and the Telegraph. She has been a contributor on BBC Gardeners’ World and Gardeners’ Question Time. She also worked as a Gardens Researcher for the National Trust and is currently an independent consultant.

Pam Smith, Senior National Consultant for Gardens and Parklands

Pam Smith

As our Senior National Consultant for Gardens and Parklands, Pam Smith advises on horticulture and garden and landscape history. She first joined the National Trust as Regional Gardens Adviser. Before this she worked in public parks and gardens, including the University of Birmingham's botanic garden, where she was Director.