Seasonal garden advice: October

By Paul Hervey-Brookes

Autumn is definitely here; the days are less warm and the nights are drawing in.

Trees are changing colour, leaves are dropping and it seems that the raking of them is never ending. However, at the end you will have lots of lovely leaf mould! Alternatively you can wet them, pack them into plastic sacks (with a few holes) and tie the tops. They will eventually turn into a good soil conditioner.

Lawns will probably need their last mow this month and the best way to clear leaves on the lawn is to simply mow over them. The shredded leaves will rot down quicker this way. Before putting your mower away for winter, clean and oil it thoroughly so its ready to go in the spring.

Divide herbaceous perennials

Other jobs that need to be done at this time of year include the cutting back of perennials that have died down, dividing herbaceous perennials and pruning climbing roses.

Bring tender plants indoors

Containers can be planted this month with bedding plants to give some colour. Violas, wallflowers and winter pansies are popular choices along with spring flowering bulbs.
Paul Hervey-Brookes

Seeds can still be collected as you go around tidying the garden and getting it ready for the winter months.

Cyclamen and ornamental cabbage look good in containers but ensure they are in a sheltered spot as they are particularly vulnerable to rotting in damp conditions.

Some perennials can be planted out at this time of year. Hellebores, alstroemeria and Acanthus will provide lots of colour through the year. Trees, shrubs and woody climbers can also be planted now.

Tender plants should be brought indoors or into the greenhouse before the first frosts but remember to install heating in the greenhouse or line it with bubble wrap.

Meet the author

Paul Hervey-Brookes

Paul had his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks & Spencers.

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