"It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves." Robert Louis Stevenson
Roses still flowering at the end of October. A lawn that demands another mow but is too wet to cut (unless you have a garden tractor designed to cut in the wet). Fuschias still glowing pink in the light fading into autumn. As the clocks change, for many of us the garden is still growing and the roses can wait to be pruned back. Enjoy the fragrance and colour. Winter jasmine is glowing yellow, certainly where we are. But the reports tell us we’re in for cold weather so let’s make the best of days when we can get all those autumn clear- up jobs done and batten down for the winter.
The first frosts have arrived and it’s time to bring tender pelargoniums and fuschias into the greenhouse or conservatory. Oh yes, the greenhouse could do with a good wash down with a bit of Jeye’s Fluid and good old fashioned washing-up liquid and water. Pots, trays, tools too. Bring on the colour for next year.
Now is a good time to plant bare rooted roses. Plant tulips in early November, in the ground or containers – you can plant them in pots sunk into the ground then lift the pots out after they have flowered. Last chance to plant anemones, pansies, Sweet Williams, irises and Canterbury Bells (Campanula).
Cut back and tidy up herbaceous borders and check the stakes and ties on trees and climbers before any more hurricane tails arrive. Prune bush and standard roses when the leaves have fallen, removing dead or diseased limbs and shortening promising stems to concentrate the rising sap for the best bud display. Hard prune fruit trees and bushes and, well, take a break and look around the garden. What was missing this year that you would like for next? I feel a trip to the garden centre coming on and some nice winter hanging baskets wouldn’t go amiss.
- Dig and roughly turn the soil in borders for the wind and frosts to break it down
- Plant tulips in a sunny spot with some coarse grit if the soil is heavy
- Plant lilies outdoors about 15cm/6” deep
- Apply slow acting fertiliser to soil you have dug over
- Finish laying turf if you have made a new lawn area
- Lift early-flowering chrysanthemums you want to store in a cool greenhouse
- Pot deciduous shrubs such as hydrangeas, deutzias and lilacs to early flower in the greenhouse
- Plant hyacinths and sow cyclamen seeds
- Evergreen shrubs for colour: camellia, elaeagnus, erica, fatsia, hebes, Viburnum tinus