Gardening Tips: October 2014

pansy, an example of winter bedding

As we have now passed the autumn equinox and the daylight is fast beginning to fade day by day, autumn is truly underway. It’s fantastic watching the trees change into rich colours and finding pools of leaves collecting – not quite big enough to really tramp in yet though!

It’s time to unbury the rake from the garden shed and shake off the cobwebs as raking becomes more and more necessary with the falling leaves – it’s especially important to gather up fallen leaves in your flowerbeds to keep check on diseases such as black spot which infect roses so badly.

While you have your rake out though for the leaves, you could treat your lawn to a bit of tender loving care by raking out the moss and debris, perhaps even afterwards giving it some weed and feed.

In the flowerbeds you can be cutting things back as they have finished flowering and their leaves are turning brown and dying back, like Crocosmias and Daylilies. You can put feed away until next year now, but carry on watering Camellias which will be forming next year’s buds, preferably with rainwater if you can.

Now is perfect for planting shrubs and trees, I have been busy dividing up hardy perennials that have become overcrowded and using them to fill up bare spots in borders.

You can also fill in bare patches with bedding, the shops are just starting to sell winter bedding – my favourites are Bellis daisies and Primulas as they are much more disease resistant than pansies and violas. Cyclamen are great this time of year, providing little pools of colour and striking patterned foliage.

This is the month to start thinking ahead for spring and planting hyacinths and daffodils, plant tulips later in the month, even into November. One of the lovely things about this time of year is that after a busy bout of gardening a pot of tea and crumpets is never more tasty or better deserved!

If you’d like to keep up with jobs to do in the garden, you could sign up for my monthly column.

Happy gardening!

Jobs for October:

  • Place plant pots on feet so they don’t become waterlogged
  • Lightly cut back shrub roses, Lavatera and Buddleia to prevent them from getting blown about in the wind
  • You can cut back brown, dying foliage of perennials
  • Remove dead leaves from flowerbeds
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs
  • Move tender perennials inside and get prepared with horticultural fleece for the frosts to come
  • Watch out for slugs and snails (particularly in wet weather) and remove!
  • Weed, weed, weed!