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Friday 27 September 2019

This Month in Your Garden - October

‘Everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.’ Elizabeth Lawrence

Spectacular is a word reserved for great sights like the Grand Canyon, Macchu Picchu, the Taj Mahal and surely it also befits nature’s autumnal display of colours. Take a proverbial leaf out of October’s almanac and you can make a date with next year’s display of your own. Planting deciduous trees and shrubs is best done in autumn when they are less stressed, and you can create your canvas and backdrop of turning leaves.

Acer Palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ is one of the best of the many Japanese maples that put on a brilliant display. You needn’t plant them in the garden if you don’t want tall trees, simply put them in large pots or containers and place them in a spot where you can enjoy them.

Shrubs like Cotoneasters give you a great display of red berries. Cornus Kousa ‘Miss Satomi’ bears pink flowers followed by leaves turning deep purple and red in autumn. Explore the possibilities at the garden centre and you’ll encounter a host of other ideas. You’ve cleared up the leaves, dug over borders, gathered seed heads and pods and taken hardwood cuttings of berberis, buddleia, escallonia, forsythia, jasmin and more to grow your own.

So now you’re free to pick up and plant spring bedding, the wallflowers, polyanthus and primrose. In go the bulbs, the daffodils and hyacinth followed by tulips at the end of the month and in November. All this after you’ve cleared the borders and applied a feed such as bonemeal, with its benefits of phosphate and lime. Start your foreground against your autumn backdrop for a grand display of colour next year.

Here are some more jobs you can do:

  • Plant clematis for colourful climbers
  • Plant deciduous or coniferous hedges
  • Containers planted up give great winter colour
  • Sow sweet peas under glass for next year
  • Gather remaining fallen leaves and make leaf compost
  • Plant lilies and hyacinths
  • Prune roses
  • Plant bare-rooted roses
  • Lay turf
  • Plant irises in groups of three in a prominent position
  • Plant honeysuckles (Lonicera) and jasmines 

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