Cold, crisp mornings with lawns drenched in dew are now feeling normal as we head into mid-autumn. The autumn equinox has been and gone, and the days are shorter than the nights – and the pumpkins are so enormous that they are more than ready for their big night on Halloween.
Gardens may feel like they are winding down for the winter, but there is so much going on. Just as the squirrels and hedgehogs are racing against time to get ready for hibernation, many plants are starting to store food in their roots which they can use to spring into action when the conditions are right. Many annuals are flowering profusely, trying to form seed and disperse it before the frosts arrive.
For us, it’s time to pack away the lawn mower and get our rakes out. Leaves are now beginning to change colour into fantastic crimson and scarlet, our lawns and beds will soon be carpeted with them. You could have a go at turning them into leaf mould if you have the patience, it takes a long time to break down before you can incorporate it into your beds.
As you watch the toads hunker down, squeezing into the tiniest gaps for winter and admire the snowdrops emerging already, you might start to think about winter and get busy choosing spring bulbs. You can start to plant daffodils now but I’d wait until next month to plant your tulips as they are more likely to rot the earlier they are planted.
Before we get too worried thinking about winter though, make sure you get out and enjoy the colour in the garden now, the deep pinks of Sedums and the cheerful sunflowers and the last of the red hot pokers!
Jobs for October:
- Keep Camellias and Rhododendrons watered – they are forming their buds now and will welcome the extra help
- Raise pots up with feet or bricks to stop containers from getting waterlogged
- Cut back decaying foliage
- Prune climbing roses
- Stop feeding plants
- Plant shrubs and trees and spring-flowering bulbs
- Deadhead to prolong flowering
- Plant up winter bedding
- Remove pests, there are still a lot of aphids and caterpillars about as well as the slugs and snails!
- Gather leaves off the lawn and flowerbeds