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Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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An Autumn Show

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Oct 25, 2016
Autumn bedding ideas
There is a chill in the air and leaves are starting to turn to shades of gold. So it is safe to say Autumn has well and truly arrived. With the change in seasons there comes a need to change your bedding plants too. Over the last couple of days I have had a stream of customers coming in to CountryLife looking to swap out their summer bedding plants for some colour and interest for the months ahead.

The first thing I always do when I am changing my pots or window boxes is to give them a good clean. I like to empty out all the compost and give the pot a good wash to ensure they are pristine and ready for the new plants. I find this time of year the old compost in the containers has lost its vitality and you are much better off starting with fresh new compost which will support your plants for the months ahead.

Proper drainage is also very important to think about before you plant up your window boxes or containers. It is even more vital during autumn and winter when they are more prone to water logging thanks to increased rain. At home I like to include a layer of gravel or broken pottery in the bottom of my containers to ensure the excess water drains freely.

Pansies are great in winter weatherWinter pansies and violas are always popular with gardeners at this time of year to add colour. Both flowers are hardworking and come in rich vivid colours, which means they have great impact during the dull days of winter. If you look after pansies and violas they will easily flower from now right through until March. It is important though to keep removing any faded flowers before they go to seed as this will encourage the growth of more flowers after a week or two. Feeding will also be important to ensure the flowers get enough nutrients to grow over the winter months.

If you are looking to add some colour to flowerbeds with autumn bedding look no further than wallflowers. You can buy young plants now which will establish in the beds and add great colour come March. We stock a lot of dwarf varieties of wallflowers in the garden centre now and they are becoming very popular with gardeners because they tend not to get damaged in the wind like taller varieties. In my own garden the dwarf varieties have been brilliant as my garden is very exposed.

Add colour with wall flowersMany gardeners dig up wallflowers as soon as they stop flowering and chuck them on the compost heap but I always tell people to leave them in the ground as they will come back for a second year. In my own garden I simply give them a quick tidy up with a clippers and they come back in full bloom the following year.

Primroses and cyclamen will be arriving in the garden centre in the coming days and these too add great colour to a garden during the winter months. In the next article we will take a closer look at these two plants and how to get the most out of them.

Don’t forget the bulbs

Every year I like to add some spring flowering bulbs to my pots and window boxes for some added seasonal interest. Putting a mixture of snowdrops, bluebells and miniature daffodils will ensure you have a great succession of flowers throughout spring.

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at: hello@countrylife.ie

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

We were shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category.