Has 2018 been the year you've got into gardening? Urban gardening has become one of the biggest trends of the year, with urbanites up and down the country realising you don't need a garden to grow
Jane Perrone, writer, presenter, producer of urban gardening podcast On the Ledge, has partnered with Always Kalanchoe to offer their top tips on becoming an urban gardener this Autumn...
1. If you only have a limited space in your garden, it may be tempting to go for lots of small containers. However, a few large pots can fool the eye into thinking there's more room than there is. Simply plant up your containers with some winter-hardy colour (for example colourful stems of Cornus, heucheras, ornamental kale and grasses), and ensure they're visible through the windows.
2. As the nights draw in, colourful plants can help to brighten interiors and stave off any thoughts of winter for a bit longer. Succulents thrive in sunny spots - a clump of spiky, blue-grey Aloe vera looks amazing in a concrete pot, while Flaming Katy comes in a range of bright colours that look effective when planted en masse in a trough.
3. A good thing with succulents is there will be nothing to worry about if you're not going to be around for a few days. Some succulents - for instance, Kalanchoes - can bloom for 10 weeks with only minimal watering. There are also the more unusual varieties too, such as 'Magic Bells', which have pretty sprays of pale green bell-shaped flowers - or 'Dorothy', which has long-stems and autumnal orange flowers to add both interest and texture.
4. You can make supermarket 'living' herbs last a bit longer by taking them out of their pot, teasing out the individual plants and then repotting them in recycled tin cans. Sow a handful of coriander or fenugreek seeds from your kitchen spice rack into a shallow tray of compost. You'll then have microgreens within days.
5. Why not give wildlife a helping hand by introducing water to your patio or terrace? You can try to make a container pond from a plastic pot or bucket and plant it up with a dwarf waterlily, or alternatively, use an upturned bin lid or deep saucer to create a bird bath. You will need to make sure you remember to keep the water regularly refreshed and topped up, particularly as temperatures dip and there's a risk of freezing at night.
6. This time of year is ideal for sprucing up your outside space - just make sure the patios and decking are clean, so they don't become slippery when it's wet. You should also bring any outdoor cushions and rugs indoors. Fire pits can help you to enjoy being outside for a few more weeks, you could try to make your own out of a repurposed dryer or washing machine drum.