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Monday 5 October 2015

This Month in your Garden - October

Shades of autumn

Surely the October spectacle as the leaves on the trees change colour is one of the best of the gardening year. The autumn tidy-up heralds winter not far away and while there is less work to be done in the garden there will be fallen leaves to clear and borders to be prepared. It’s best to get the leaves up regularly so they don’t smother young plants but it does no harm, more good, to let leaves in mature borders rot down.

Time to cut back and divide herbaceous perennials and lift and store dahlias and begonias after the first frosts blacken the leaves. Give borders with perennials, shrubs, fruit trees and bulbs a good application of slow acting fertiliser and mulch with well-rotted compost. With borders cleared and prepared you can increase your display for next year by planting herbaceous perennials, shrubs, roses, bushy evergreens and trees before the onset of winter and if you haven’t put in the bulbs yet, plant the daffodils, muscari (grape hyacinths) and crocus, along with winter pansies and wallflowers.

Take hardwood cuttings to grow shrubs such as berberis, buddleia, forsythia, jasmine, Philadelphus and if you want to move shrubs now it the time to do it. If you like some winter colour in containers plant them up with a free-draining mixture such as John Innes No.1.

  • Prepare and plant sites for fruit and deciduous trees, roses, clematis and evergreens
  • Apply bone meal to herbaceous borders to give bulbs a good start
  • Plant wallflowers, polyanthus, primrose
  • Build a compost heap if you don’t have one
  • Plant lily of the valley and hyacinths
  • Sow sweet peas
  • Lift montbretias and gladioli to store
  • Take hardwood cuttings of cornus, cotoneaster, escallonia, spiraea, wigella
  • Erect and repair fences


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