October the middle month of autumn and what a warm start to the month it has been with September leaving in a blaze of an Indian summer! The sunshine may be less but the temperatures have remained unseasonably warm, combine this with the rain and you have perfect weed germination conditions!! For me October in the garden is about enjoying the remaining blooms before the first frosts, planting bulbs and giving the garden a general overhaul before the weather makes the borders too soggy to work! The nights maybe drawing in but whilst the weather is reasonably good here are some jobs for the month:-
Many bulbs can be planted this month including daffodils, tulips, snakes-head fritillary, crocus and hyacinth.
Summer flowering perennials that have finished flowering can be cut back and if necessary can be lifted and divided.
Dead-head any remaining roses and cut back soft shoots which will help prevent die back in the winter, the main pruning can be carried out late February or early March, ensure that all leaf debris has been collected this helps to prevent black spot.
Plant forced Hyacinths for winter flowering – these make great Christmas presents.
Plant new perennials.
Lift and store dahlias and gladioli and be sure to label them as you remove them for winter storage.
Plant Lily of the Valley, Heathers and Wallflowers.
Lift tender perennials such as Agapanthus.
Shorten stems on Buddleia and Lavatera to prevent wind damage – cut the stems in half and carry out the remaining pruning in spring.
Plant up pots and tubs with spring-flowering bulbs and bedding for winter colour.
Protect ponds with net or mesh to help prevent fallen leaves entering the pond.
Check ties and supports on young trees.
The frequency of lawn mowing can now be reduced.
Rake and collect fallen leaves and store in bin bags with holes to make leaf mold.
Clean the greenhouse.
Forage for damson, sloes, blackberries, crab apples and rosehips to make wonderful liquers, jams, jellies and chutneys!
Last chance to: