Make the most of these late autumn days

The clocks have gone back, we’re getting less daylight and the weather’s turning colder – thank goodness for gardening, which keeps our minds occupied and our bodies warm!

Whatever time you can spend outside in your garden, it is never wasted: even a few minutes of tidying up, cutting back and deadheading can make all the difference to the look of the space and to how you feel.

We’ll be continuing the big job of scooping the leaves up. As you can imagine, this is a huge job but we ensure nothing goes to waste. We collect the leaves and bag them up and wait. Patiently. Every year we are rewarded with hundreds of bags of wonderful leaf mould that have been developing over the previous one or two years.

It never ceases to delight us that we can get such a huge quantity of fantastic soil conditioner from our generous trees that we use to enrich the borders.

Now the grass garden is past its best, we’ll be removing the salvias and cannas, and from elsewhere in the Gardens, we’ll be saying goodbye to the dahlias, which do such a great job to cheer us up during September and October.

As always, we’ll take the tubers to the dry store in the nursery for the winter, so they can conserve their energy until next year when we’ll replant them for another display.

In their place will be hundreds of polyanthus and spring bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils. These will be planted on the Terrace and in the car park.

There’s no lack of colour, though, and if you head to our Mediterranean House, you’ll see that the chrysanthemums and coleus are looking splendid.

We had some unusual guests last month (and they’re here until November 7) – 50 dinosaurs that have been enjoying a high vantage point over the Gardens. We know visitors have enjoyed the spectacle, but as soon as they leave, the gardening team and our fantastic volunteers will be tidying up so you’ll never know they have been there.

In their place – just one, though! – will be another giant installation: the 15ft tall Christmas tree. This will take pride of place in our car park, as it does every year, to help our visitors get into the festive mood.

Have you ever thought about volunteering at the Gardens? As a charity, we rely on our volunteers a great deal and we are immensely grateful for all their input. If it’s something you’d like to find out about, we’re holding a volunteer recruitment day on Wednesday, November 17 from 11am-3pm.

We have a variety of roles – from front of house to the shop, from gardening to our education department. Whether you can spare a couple of hours a week or several days a month, we’d love to hear from you. You can register your interest here.

We’re hosting one of our wonderful guided tours on Thursday, November, 25 between 1 and 2pm. This month’s theme is on autumn colour, winter twigs and berries. These are always popular and there is always something new and fascinating to learn on these informative, fun talks. You don’t need to book – just come to the main reception area. The tour is free, but visitors have to pay normal admission fees (unless you’re a member of the Gardens, of course).

We love to see your social media posts of your visits to the Gardens. If you spot something you love, have a question about a specific plant or just want to highlight your trip, please tag us or post to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. We hope to see you all soon.