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Wednesday 1 October 2014

This Month in your Garden – October

Colour scheme now for next year’s display

Gathering seeds from favourite plants you have allowed to run to seed is easy and a saving on the pocket. You know the seed is fresh and many of the hardy annuals and perennials can be sown but keep some back for spring. Collect the seed heads or pods in paper bags, separating them from any chaff, and let them dry out in a cool and dark but airy place. Once dried pop them into packets or envelopes, label them and then back they go to the dark place until needed.

Autumn’s spectacular colour schemes bring falling leaves to be gathered up for producing leaf mould for compost. Make sure rockeries don’t get left covered in leaves as they may kill the plants.

The traditional planting of trees and shrubs in the autumn is best for the plants, especially bare-tooted ones, rather than waiting until spring. Deciduous trees and shrubs will be less stressed planted now. You can plan a spectacular display of colour for next autumn with acers, dogwoods and sumach.

Spring bedding can be planted when you clear beds of summer marguerites, dahlias, begonias and salvias to replace them with wallflowers, forget-me-nots, polyanthus and primrose together with bulbs such as hyacinths and tulips, the latter going in later in the month or November.

Herbaceous borders will benefit from an application of bonemeal which acts slowly and provides phosphates and lime. It’s good for bulb beds too. Hardwood cuttings can be taken, including gooseberries, currants and rambling roses for slow development and planting out next autumn (isn’t it good to think ahead?). Clematis climb to provide great displays. When you plant, make sure the top of the compost on the rootball is 15cm (6”) below the soil level to help prevent clematis wilt.

  • Take hardwood cuttings of berberis, buddleia, cornus, cotoneaster, escallonia, forsythia, jasmine, kerria, philadelphus, roses, spiraea, weigela and willow
  • Prepare sites for fruit trees
  • Move large shrubs you want elsewhere
  • Compost soft refuse, leaves, green stems, damaged fruit and grass clippings
  • Pot on cinerarias, stocks, freesias
  • Plant deciduous or coniferous hedges
  • Sow sweet peas in pots
  • Consider next year’s October colour schemes  
  • Plant containers for winter colour 

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