WE’VE had the first frosts of the year and they act as a starting gun for numerous jobs around the gardens here at Arley.

Visitors will see us cracking on with a number of chores that cannot begin until the temperatures have dropped and the first signs of winter are upon us.

Many of those jobs will be ones you will be wanting to complete in your own gardens in the coming weeks.

Tasks such as collecting and drying any seeds you might want to resow in 2019.

Gather seeds on a dry day as soon as the seed-heads ripen, you can detect this by a colour change often from green to brown, black or red.

Lay them on a greenhouse bench, warm windowsill or in an airing cupboard.

This enables easier extraction and if they resist, gently crush the pods to release the seed.

Place them in labelled paper packets or envelopes in an airtight container with some desiccant to remove excess moisture.

Certain seeds need to be kept dry while moisture is necessary for germination in others such as walnuts, oaks and magnolias.

It also makes sense at this time of year to complete any jobs that can be done indoors.

For example, bring in that garden bench you’ve delayed painting for months or tidy out and sterilise the greenhouse.

They might not be the most enjoyable of tasks, but skipping them now might lead to some regret when the sun returns.

The garden at Arley might be bigger than most, but certain principles stay the same for any patch.

Much of the work is preparing you and your garden for next year, but if you put your plans into action now it gives you time to react if anything goes wrong.

Come spring, you will see the fruits of your labour and it will all have been worthwhile.

Top tips

We will be planting more than 10,000 bulbs in the coming weeks to ensure a strong show of colour early next year.

When planting your bulbs make sure they are deep enough to remain unmoved if someone takes a hoe to the earth.

My rule is twice as much soil on top as to the depth of the bulb is planted.

Now is a good time to head to your garden centres and pick up some bulbs. It’s the end of the season and, if you are lucky, there will be some bargains to be had.

Jobs for the month

Keep on top of the leaves. At Arley we will be constantly clearing up the leaves to stop them from causing any damage, in particular to the lawns. Our herbaceous plants are also being cut back.

Enjoy autumn’s show of colour

The trees around Arley and across Cheshire are stunning right now but make the most of it because it can almost seem like the leaves drop overnight.

The best areas to visit at Arley are The Grove and The Rootery, they blaze with orange, yellows and reds putting on a spectacular display.

It really is one of the best times of year to be out and about enjoying a walk.