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Tuesday 4 October 2022

This Month in Your Garden - October

“Now autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods.” William Allingham

The tapestry of autumn colours never ceases to delight the eye as the trees make their gradual transition into winter. October brings many jobs to the gardener, but it’s not all work. Planning next year’s borders can mean pleasant hours of drawing inspiration from visiting the garden centre or ordering from the catalogues.

Now is the time to cut back faded herbaceous perennials, lift and divide overcrowded ones and plant new shrubs and trees. At the first frosts, lift dahlia and canna tubers and rhizomes to store over winter unless you live in a very warm region where they may be left in the ground. 

Containers, pots and hanging baskets can be stripped out with fresh compost added and planted up for colourful winter display. Primula, primroses, viola and winter pansies spring easily to mind but add crocus, heather, cyclamen, winter irises, ferns, carex and heucheras to your list for bright displays through the winter months with little effort required. A long-handled bulb planter can make light work of planting swathes of daffodils and other bulbs but hold back on tulips until November to avoid the chance of tulip fire. 

A handy tip to avoid wind rock is to prune shrubs you would normally hard prune in spring, such as Buddleja davidii, Lavatera and Cornus alba. You can cut them back by half and then hard prune in spring as usual. 

  • Prune climbing roses, hedges, fruit trees, shrubs and climbers
  • Prune and move tender plants in pots such as Pelargoniums to the greenhouse or conservatory
  • Prepare sites and plant new trees, bushes, roses and clematis 
  • Move shrubs to desired areas
  • Take hardwood cuttings
  • Sow sweet peas to grow in a cold greenhouse
  • Collect and store seeds from perennials
  • Clear leaves from the lawn and ponds 
  • Plant wallflowers, forget-me-nots, primrose and polyanthus, hyacinths and lily of the valley


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