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Wednesday 4 October 2017

This Month in Your Garden - October

"October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter." Nova Schubert Bair (1911–2009)

Everyone seems to be talking about the leaves and the colours on the trees. Rightly so, October’s splendid sylvanian backdrop is exceptional in many places this year and the coming weeks are a great time to visit arboretums and the many National Trust gardens that put on a fine display. Although few of us have the opportunity for such grand scale planting of trees we can take inspiration from other gardens for colour scheming and prepare sites for planting bare rooted trees.

Autumn planting for deciduous and fruit trees is less stressful for them, along with planting roses, clematis and evergreens. To add more colour you can take hardwood cuttings of shrubs such as berberis, contoneaster, forsythia, jasmine and weigela. Planting hedges like copper beech adds privacy and windbreaks while providing more vivid colour to the autumn palette. Thinking ahead then for painting in the colour in the borders, we can plant wallflowers, Cheiranthus, forget-me-nots, double daisies, polyanthus, primrose, violas, bellis, winter pansies and move shrubs to new locations.

Plenty of bulbs and tubers can go in, daffodils for that wonderful carpet of spring yellows and whites, lily of the valley, hyacinths, lilies, alliums and crocosmia, preferably early in the month. Still wait until November to put in tulips. Other jobs to do will be cutting back perennials that have died down, mow lawns and trim hedges.

  • Clear up fallen leaves on the lawn and paths
  • Put up and repair fencing
  • Prune climbing roses 
  • Lift and divide overcrowded herbaceous plants
  • Sow hardy annuals if you live in a mild area
  • Remove weeds and start digging over beds 
  • Apply bone meal where you plant bulbs.
  • Sow sweet peas under glass in a cold greenhouse or cold frame

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