October

Gardening Tips for October

As autumn draws in on the garden, October brings the last burst of colour to our beds and borders. Cold nights and shorter days cloak our gardens in fiery autumn shades and the first frosts etch the garden with a silvery sheen.

Tubs and baskets

  • Clear the last of tender summer bedding plants and replace with fresh new season plants to provide colour and texture throughout the autumn and coming winter. Pansies, Violas, Cyclamen, winter Heathers, ornamental grasses and trailing Ivy are all popular choices for long lasting and proven garden performance. Add early flowering dwarf bulbs such as Narcissi or Crocus for a cheerful splash of spring colour.
  • Be sure to refresh the compost, now exhausted from the summer season.

Spring Flowering Bulbs

  • Continue to plant Spring Flowering bulbs in beds and borders. Visit your local store to see our extensive range of tried and trusted favourites as well as new and inspirational colour mixes. For best effect plant bulbs in groups of 5, 7 or 9, tucked into gaps generated in the border as perennial plants are cut back for the winter.
  • Early flowering Spring bulbs, such as Daffodils and Crocus benefit from being planted now, whilst Tulips can wait until November if you are busy, but be sure to visit your local store early for the widest selection and store in a cool garden shed until you are ready to plant.
  • Dwarf Iris or Crocus also look great planted in shallow terracotta bowls, displayed near the house for an enchanting flower display as early as January.
  • Indoor bulbs such as prepared Hyacinths and Narcissus Paperwhite should be planted now to fill the house with fragrance throughout the festive period. Use Bulb Fibre, particularly if you are planting your bulbs into a container without drainage holes.

Beds and Borders

  • Plant drifts of Wallflowers, under-planting with Tulips and forget-me-nots for a colourful display.
  • While soils are still holding the last of the summer warmth, now is the perfect time to plant new shrubs, roses and cottage plants, enabling roots to establish during the winter in readiness for next spring.
  • Add winter structure to the garden with evergreen shrubs such as winter flowering Viburnum tinus, or fiery autumn foliage colour from Acers and Parthenocissus, or sweet fragrance from Sarcococca and Mahonia japonica. Visit your local garden centre to see all the new ranges freshly delivered and ready for planting now.
  • Plant Ornamental Trees to add height and structure to your garden. See our website for details of our widest ever range of British Grown trees available in store, or for direct delivery from the nursery to your home.
  • Summer-flowering shrubs such as Buddleia and Lavatera should be cut back by half now to prevent any damage caused by wind rock during the winter.
  • Trim hedges now for a crisp finish to last all winter.

Cottage Garden

  • Lift tender Dahlias touched by the first frosts. In milder areas, on well draining soils, consider leaving them in the ground, top dressing with a think protective layer of mulch, such as straw or bracken.
  • Lift Cannas and other tender garden exotics. Store in a dry frost-free garden shed or greenhouse for the winter months.
  • Cut back and tidy cottage garden perennials, adding them to the compost heap. Leave grasses and seed heads to feed winter birds and to shelter overwintering insects. On frosty mornings they look stunning in the low winter sunshine too!
  • Herbaceous perennials establish quickly if planted now. Use this opportunity to split and divide existing clumps too, invigorating new growth for next spring and summer.
  • Plant biennials now, such as Sweet Scented Stocks, Foxgloves and Honesty for strong statuesque plants to carry masses of flower early in the spring.
  • Prune and tie-in climbing Roses now, cutting shrub Roses back by around half to prevent damage from wind rock.

Fruit Garden

  • Harvest the last of the Apples and Pears and store in a cool airy shed on slatted benching for good air circulation. Make sure they are not touching to prevent any spread of disease.
  • Our widest range of new season Fruit Trees are available for planting now, including Apples and Pears, Plums and Cherries. See our website for details of our British grown trees available in store or for delivery direct from the nursery to your home.
  • New season ranges of soft fruit, across a wide range of berries and currants are available now too. Browse our website for our comprehensive range grown in Scotland and available in store. Available soon for on-line ordering for delivery direct from the nursery to your home.
  • Blackberry, Raspberry and Loganberry canes that have finished cropping should be cut out and new canes can be tied in to support framework

Vegetable Garden

  • Harvest Pumpkins, Squashes and Gourds. Pumpkins are great fun for carving for Halloween, but are also tasty in soups and curries. Gourds in their myriad of colours also look stunning in a display basket.
  • Plant Garlic now for the largest bulbs next year.
  • Potatoes, carrots and beetroots should be lifted now to avoid slug damage.
  • Put deterrent in place to avoid the ravages of pigeons on brassicas
  • Dig over ground as it becomes vacant. Apply a layer of mulch over the top, allowing worms to work it down into the ground during the winter.

Lawn Care

  • Rake up leaves and add to the compost heap, or store in separate pens for rotting down into leaf--mould. Shredding the leaves first with a mower will help them to rot down quicker.
  • Scarify established lawns to remove dead thatch, which can stifle growth in the winter months. Spike the surface with a fork or lawn aerator to reduce compaction and allow nutrients to reach the roots.
  • Apply an autumn lawn food to help strengthen your lawn ready for the coming winter.
  • October is an ideal time to lay new lawns from turf or seed, the warm moist soils perfect for new roots to establish quickly.
  • Reduce mowing frequency and set the blades high. By the end of the month it will be time to stop cutting and the mower should then be serviced in preparation for next year

Garden Tidy
• October is the time for tidying up and storing away for winter. Cover ponds with netting to catch falling leaves and wooden furniture with protective covers to protect from the winter rain.

 

Plants at their best

Sowbread (Cyclamen hederifolium)
Virginia Creeper
Japanese Maples
Snowy Mespilus
Fire Thorn (Pyracantha)
American Gum
Smoke Bush
Sumach
Beauty Berry
Pampas Grass
Pernetya mucronata varieties