THERE are just a couple more weeks before the clocks go back, so make sure you maximise your time in the garden with the longer days.

My work in the garden at Driftwood has come to a bit of a standstill while the landscaping project is underway but there will be so much to do once it is complete. The work being undertaken will create a large new patio at the rear of the house along with some new raised beds and a new border and extended patio further up the garden. I have managed to purchase 50 old railway sleepers, which will be used at the back of the new area and around the sides. It should all look pretty amazing once completed and planted up. Let’s hope the weather stays reasonably mild through the rest of the month and into November, to give me chance to replant everything!

READ MORE: Geoff Stonebanks gardening column: new patio preparation

East Sussex may have finished its garden openings for the National Garden Scheme for this year, but there are still a couple to go in West Sussex! Peelers Retreat in Ford Road, Arundel is going to open on both the 10th and 12th. Pre-booking is essential on the Tuesday but not the Sunday. It is a garden full of imaginative woodland sculptures and a flare for the unusual. Dogs on leads are allowed too. Full details can be found at

A perfect addition to the garden at this time of year is the aster. I have a beautiful one that is one of the Island Series, called ‘Barbados’. It is a neat, compact Michaelmas Daisy with mauve-purple flowers are a tonic for fading borders from late summer to autumn. This cheery perennial is free-flowering, attracting attention from pollinating insects which are drawn to the nectar-rich flowers. The upright stems and colourful blooms make this a lovely cut flower too. It is a really useful perennial for providing late summer colour at the front of perennial borders and they grow well in full sun or part shade too.

Right at the top of the garden is a large apple tree, it was one of the only original plantings remaining from the plot when we arrived back in 2004. It has produced much fruit this year, more importantly, many more large pieces than usual making them much easier to peel. I’ve successfully picked them all now, peeled and cooked them and packaged up in small containers in the freezer, ready to use through the winter months. I have not had as many pears as usual but have also picked what there is, peeled and poached them and placed them in the freezer too.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at