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Monday 4 October 2021

This Month in Your Garden - October

‘Dry your barley in October, or you’ll always be sober.’ English folk-rhyme.

It’s easy to become inebriated on the colours of October and not just the autumn leaves. Many flowers will bloom through to the first frosts. Asters, Japanese anemone, agapanthus, chrysanthemum, calla and carnations, to name but a few, give the garden a vivid palette on darker days. Deadhead dahlias and they will keep coming and once blackened by frost the tubers can be lifted and stored for planting next year.

You can brighten an otherwise dull border with Rudbeckia or warm up an area with heleniums and many of these can be cut flowers brought indoors. Of course, there’s much to be done in the way of sorting herbaceous borders this month. Cutting back faded perennials, lifting and dividing crowded areas, and thus gaining more plants, and planning where to introduce new planting are all high on the list of pleasurable jobs to be done. 

A walk round the garden centre will inspire you with the choice of statement shrubs, but remember to plan for the height and width they will grow into and allow them space in the border. Fill spaces with spring-flowering bulbs, daffodils for early splashes of colour, tête-à-tête and dwarf irises in containers, but no planting of tulips until November to avoid tulip fire. To add to your coloured canvas plant wallflowers, forget-me-nots, primrose and polyanthus, hyacinths and lily-of-the-valley.  

  • Prepare sites for new trees, bushes, roses and clematis
  • Plant crocus and muscari (grape hyacinths)
  • Plant up containers and hanging baskets for winter colour
  • Prune climbing roses and hedges
  • Move tender plants in pots to the greenhouse or conservatory
  • Plant Primula, winter pansies, viola and Bellis
  • Sow sweet peas
  • Collect seed from perennials for sowing

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