The great autumn garden clean up…


I love taking photos of my greenhouse from this angle but if you look closely you’ll see that the bed to the front left and indeed the path in front is actually littered with weeds and rubble. There’s also a box of pears and the last apples. Yes, it is the great autumn garden clean up!

I don’t normally like to show photos of my garden in a total mess but in all honesty it’s been very untidy all summer due to ‘shed works’ and only Adam doing the majority of the gardening.

The clean up this autumn has been particularly hard because I’ve been nesting at home getting ready for the new arrival. Nesting has involved everything from clearing cupboards to decorating whole rooms! Then of course the weather has been hit and miss, some weekends are lovely and I manage to get outside to potter and some weekends are dire so I stick to DIY. Of course, when I say ‘I’ it really means Adam too because there’s a lot of things I just don’t have the physical strength to do. So yes, I’ve definitely been clearing cupboards but Adam has been on the DIY duties,  so that means very little time for the garden.


Ah, there’s my lovely heuchera! We really enjoyed ripping the annuals and weeds out of this bed. In the spring and summer it was full of foxgloves, which looked great but did swamp all the other plants, killing all my heathers and the Christmas tree didn’t survive either. I’ll have to watch out for that next year.


The remnants of the old shed littered the front of the allotment for weeks, as did weeds and general ‘mess’ that I was just unable to shift due to my baby bump.





Clearing out the courgettes was a real highlight because these beautiful pumpkins appeared underneath the foliage (so did a hanging basket that I’d ‘lost’!)


Last year my attempts with pumpkins failed due to the damp summer, so I went a little overboard with the planting this year hoping that I’d get at least one. All the seedlings fared well and my patch resembled something similar to a jungle. I’m delighted with all the pumpkins now of course.


The squash plants produced some interesting shapes too, a lot of the plants had rotted so we had to pick some of them before I would have liked but they are making the best ever autumn harvest display in my kitchen.

Adam brought the little orange pumpkin (below) home in July. He was really happy about our ’round courgette’! They’re green when they’re growing of course, hence the mix up, so it spent a few months ripening in a cupboard.


There’s always something to do in the garden but at this time of year I find it particularly demanding. With the darker evenings it means there’s only really the weekends to get out there. Along with the clean up there’s also all the bulb planting… and my winter containers…. and window boxes to finish. It’s very exciting but this year it’s also very difficult!

What have you been doing in your garden over the last few weeks? Do you find there’s a lot to do in the garden at this time of year?

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41 Responses to “The great autumn garden clean up…”

  1. home, garden, life October 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Real gardeners understand every word of this post and I marvel at your truly beautiful garden. Congratulations on babe-to-be! I too am in the throws of garden clean up here in VA. One killing frost last week ended beautiful annual blooms that the hummers and honey bees craved. Now to plant some adopted bulbs and keep the darned raccoon out of the fresh beds…be well! D.

    • Anna B October 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Hi Diane! Aw bless the poor hummingbirds and bees, it’s sad they lost their blooms. I remember when Adam lived in Canada he wasn’t very happy with Raccoons!! We have similar problems with mice and squirrels. Gardening is so rewarding but also hard work and upsetting at times when things get eaten!! I hope you enjoy your clean up, it’s exciting to think of the spring isn’t it. Thanks so much for your lovely comment :)

  2. Cathy October 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Those pumpkins look great Anna! Any plans for them? I love pumpkin pie, but we are still working through our apples at the moment! I find there is a lot to do in autumn, with only an hour here and an hour there to do it! Pots to wash, bulbs still not in the ground, pruning and dividing… a lot will remain undone I expect! ;-) You have a good excuse this year though – take it easy!

    • Anna B October 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      Hi Cathy! Definitely pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds too! I think I’ll be steaming a lot of pumpkin flesh and freezing it. It seems to keep quite nicely. Or maybe batches of soup? I’ve been told to stock the freezer up with food ready for the first few weeks of motherhood! I wonder if I could freeze pumpkin pie? It’s always good to have some emergency deserts on hand in the freezer! I imagine there’s lots of recipes out there for pumpkin cup cakes too, I could freeze little individual fairy cakes, my mum does that with plain sponge ones. You’ve got me thinking!! It’s a lovely day today and I’d love to replant my window boxes but they’re too heavy to lift down. It’s really good to take it easy but also frustrating to lose a bit of independence too. I’ll just not have to put too much pressure on, there’s always next autumn and winter in the garden. I hope you enjoy your autumn gardening and your apples :) Thanks so much for dropping by!

  3. Jenny October 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    What a great set of pumpkins and squashes. We’re really struggling for time to give our garden the tidy up it needs at the moment – dark nights, and a mix of wet and busy weekends. It is very satisfying clearing out the annuals and getting it all back to bare earth ready for the spring isn’t it?

    • Anna B October 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Hello Jenny! Yes, it’s really satisfying and there’s something refreshing about clearing up on a fresh day but like you, it’s finding the time isn’t it. Lets hope we have some nice weekends! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  4. rusty duck October 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    I’m in danger of running out of time with the autumn clear up. With all the rain we’ve had our clay soil has just become too claggy to work, or even walk on. Just hoping for some sunny days to allow it to dry out a bit. Your squash harvest is great and I love the pumpkins all in a line!

    • Anna B October 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      Hello Rusty Duck! I’m in danger of not getting chance to do everything too. I have really claggy clay soil as well and it is a problem when it gets waterlogged isn’t it. Nature has a way of rebalancing at some point! I’m going to harvest the pumpkins tomorrow! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  5. Anna October 29, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Oh what a great harvest of pumpkins and squashes Anna – what varieties did you grow this year? Don’t be too hard on yourself about weeds etc. You got the perfect excuse and other priorities at the moment. Time to put your feet up and have fun browsing the seed catalogues.

    • Anna B October 30, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Hi Anna! The patty-pan squashes are summer sattelite F1, The pumpkins are Mars F1, I also have sweet dumpling squashes and Cornells Bush Delicata winter squashes!!! I’ve got some new photos too so will no doubt list those out against the varieties in a later post. I think I’m becoming obsessed with them!! I am learning to put my feet up more and more – which is a good thing! So I probably do need to think about either asking Adam to do more ;) or just accepting that there might be some jobs that I just don’t get done this year. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  6. CJ October 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    There is a lot to do this time of year to tidy up before winter. But your plot is still looking lovely. Hope you have a good week.

    • Anna B October 30, 2013 at 10:21 am #

      Ah thanks so much CJ! I hope you have a good week too and thanks so much for your comment :)

  7. nataliescarberry October 30, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    Nice post. Yes, I’ve been out in my garden off and on. I may not get all the cleaning up and weeding I want done either, but though I can’t make it perfect, I can make it better out there. Blessings, Natalie

    • Anna B October 30, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Hello Natalie! You’re so right, aiming for perfection is just too much unnecessary pressure! It is very rewarding having a good day in the garden though where you really feel like you’ve achieved something. It’s refreshing too and makes the sit down with feet up at the end of the day feel even better! I hope you enjoy your autumn gardening. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  8. about sean's food October 30, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    Hi Anna, I’ve been having a great time in my garden lately. For me it’s Spring and I’ve just planted all of my tomatoes, capsicums and potatoes which I’m really looking forward to having this Christmas, and I’ve still been able to take leaves off my cavolo nero plants which have been around since the begining of winter.

    But when it’s Autumn I don’t really struggle to find time. I just set aside a weekend with good weather and get everything done no matter what!

    P.S. Your pumpkins do look great by the way.

    • Anna B October 30, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      Hello Sean! How amazing that you’re having your spring time now! I wish I could have spring time again so soon!! As for your attitude towards the autumn gardening it’s brilliant! Oh to be young again!!! Gardening shouldn’t be seen as a chore and I’m so happy that you enjoy it so much :) Thanks for your comment dude!

  9. Caro October 30, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Do you know what, Anna? I’d just let it all go and do a little when you feel properly in the mood! I remember that nesting instinct, wanting to get everything perfect before the birth so that you have plenty of time to relax into motherhood but the winter will take care of the weeds and the DIY will wait! You’ve got a wonderful pumpkin harvest – did you plant through the shale mulch or put that down afterwards? I’m curious as I’ve been battling weeds all year! Good luck with the pumpkin preserving, the pumpkin pie sounds delicious!!

    • Anna B October 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

      Hi Caro! I know you’re right, if the broccoli plants that have just gone to seed stay there till spring it really doesn’t matter does it. I did save some of the perennials that I bought this summer today though. They were in pots at the front of my house and Adam took them up the road for winter last week, they were in a box completely water logged!! I think if I just do little bits here and there that will be the right balance. Like Natalie said I mustn’t strive for perfection, just enjoy the fresh air and a nice gentle potter! Some of the pumpkins actually trailed out / over the raised bed when they were smaller and are growing on the paths. I left them to it as i did think they would be healthier on the pebbles where they could be a bit dryer. We put the pebbles down on weed matting on the path a few years back and it’s been brilliant in terms of maintenance. In my front garden I have put pebbles on the soil and I do plant through that. It’s amazing that bulbs and perennials find their way through it every year and it does seem to suppress the weeds! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  10. Jason October 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    I really have to start my fall cleanup this weekend. Lovely pumpkins!

    • Anna B November 1, 2013 at 7:56 am #

      Thanks Jason! I hope you have a good weekend for it :)

  11. Cathy Thompson October 30, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    Am overwhelmed by how much I have to do in the garden at the moment. But it palls into insignificance in comparison to the preparations involved in preparing for your latest ‘seedling’. All the very best for the next month (or so) And your pumpkins are wonderful, as are the pictures, well done for producing in the garden against the odds ..

    • Anna B November 1, 2013 at 7:59 am #

      Thank you so much Cathy! I must say though that Adam has done all the hard work, I started the seeds off but he then had to follow my commands when I pointed at where I wanted them planting and I can’t recall just how many times I’ve asked him to move and lift heavy things! If it wasn’t for him I dot think I’d have grown anything this year. Hope you get chance to do some pottering soon. It is overwhelming at this time of year. Thanks so much for dropping by!

  12. Janet/Plantaliscious October 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Hi Anna, what a fabulous collection of pumpkins! And as others have said, you have the perfect alibi for letting the garden go a little and not doing as much outside, the odd plant casualty is nothing really, indoor nesting on the other hand, is all very much part of preparing for the next exciting phase of your lives. Sorry about your Christmas tree though. I have been battling through my own Autumn clear-up, recovering the kitchen garden from the over grown grass, moving plants around as I plant bulbs, and pruning. Lots of pruning. Most of which should have been done mid Spring, but we had birds nexting in it all! At least now that the garden is beginning to slow down you can concentrate on resting and nesting without guilt spoiling it. Take care of yourself, enjoy planting up your containers, but take it easy when you need to as well, you might need to come up with some lower maintenance container plantings for the early years of life with your special bean, at least until he can help you plant them!!

    • Anna B November 1, 2013 at 8:06 am #

      Aw! Hi Janet! That’s so cute, I can’t wait to have a little helper! I was thinking exactly the same about low maintenance! I did just a bit of tidying and dead heading violas and chrysanths the other day and that was enough for me! Standing and squatting is all good for the inevitable labour but it doesn’t half take it out of you! I love carrying ‘the bean’ but it is a bit awkward! I think this experience will actually teach me a lot about gardening, I’m more aware of plants, their needs and how the garden is changing. A new heightened awareness! Thank you so much for your comment :)

  13. wellywoman October 31, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Great pumpkins! There is a lot to do but I’ve slightly lost my enthusiasm at the moment with our thoughts about having to move. I normally relish this time of year. I love a good tidy up but mustering up the get-up-and-go is proving a little hard. Still I emptied our compost bins and spread that on to the garden borders yesterday and it does feel better once I have done a job that I know needs doing.

    We’ve got some weedy patches but I’ll probably just leave them and tackle anything like that in spring. Weeds can be good for the soil, providing a little bit of protection from the winter weather like a green manure so I wouldn’t worry about them.

    The main job left is tulip planting. I was waiting for some colder weather but so far we haven’t had any frost. They’ll have to go in soon though, I like to be tucked up inside the house by the end of November. ;) Have fun eating those pumpkins.

    • Anna B November 1, 2013 at 8:13 am #

      I’m looking forward to being tucked up too! You’re so right about the weeds, the winter will do it’s work on those anyway. One thing that really plays on my mind is garlic! As long as I plant some the other stuff can wait. I’m sure Adam will help me. We might have to move house at some point too and its really made me think twice about planting into the soil, more and more containers for me! I’d absolutely have to take my plants with me! Ive got a gorgeous skimmia that I could never leave behind which will need digging up! I hope you enjoy your cozying and motivation will come back when the time is right for you. Thank you so much for dropping by :)

  14. thesneakymagpie October 31, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Your pumpkins are beautiful! I need to start clearing up as soon as the flowers star to die although I could use the space already for tulip bulbs but I am curious to see how far the flower season will stretch this year.

    • Anna B November 1, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      Hello sneaky magpie! Yes the flowering has been good this year hasn’t it. I’ve also noticed that there’s still a lot of trees yet to change colour too. I think the temperatures must have been milder. I can’t overly tell because I’m just boiling all the time anyway due to my built in heater! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  15. Adem November 1, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    I agree with what you say about not wanting to take photos when the garden is a mess but those pumpkins have added a lot of colour to this blog and getting me thinking about growing some next year!

    It is nice to have a clear up though and so annoying that it gets so dark so early. I’m interested to her about your containers. What are you planning to put in them over winter?

    • Anna B November 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      Hi Adem! I will probably do a post about my containers soon (if I can get them planted up this weekend!) I have heucheras, heathers, cyclamen and variegated trailing ivy amongst other plants. I’m going for foliage and easy maintenance!! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

      • Adem November 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

        Looking forward to seeing that post and foliage definitely sounds a lot easier!

  16. Cathy November 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Fantastic pumpkins and squash – don’t they look perfect. My squash did well too, and although it was a mixed packet they were mostly the same. Enjoy this special time :)

    • Anna B November 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

      Thanks so much Cathy :)

  17. Pumpkin Lady/ Mrs V November 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Good looking pumpkins! Little bit messy or not, I think your allotment still looks very charming. I find gardening demanding at this time of the year too due to having limited time to go our allotment, mainly only at the weekends, although there are more than enough weeds to keep us busy there. Congratulations on the baby news!

    • Anna B November 6, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      Hello pumpkin lady! There’s so much to do indeed but all I can really do now is think about clearing up because I’m not really physically able to do much! Very frustrating but there’s always next year to clean up! Thanks so much for your comment :)

  18. Charlie@Seattle Trekker November 9, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    This weekend will be the time I have set aside to tidy up the garden for fall so I can’t say I see anything that is out of the normal for late fall…I love your greenhouse.

  19. Born To Organize November 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    I can’t believe you had all those charming pumpkins hiding in your garden. What fun to discover them during clean-up.

    I like cleaning up in the fall. Putting a sense of order to things feels good: pruning back old growth, raking, sweeping, emptying out spent summer annual pots. I love starting over again in the spring, and marvel at what survives the winter. I think gardeners find things to love about all the seasons.

  20. Home in Time January 8, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    Found your blog on Dorset Cereals. Really enjoyed reading it

  21. Born To Organize January 20, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    Hi Anna, Your name popped up on blogs I follow so I thought I would pop over to say hello. How are you and your little one getting on? He/she must be 2+ by now. I hope all is well.

    • Anna B January 20, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

      Hi! So nice to hear from you! She is 2 now yes and taking up all my time. I hope to get back into blogging soon. I hope you are well. Thanks so much for dropping by :)


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