Wheelbarrow full of fallen leaves

Gardening advice for October

By Paul Hervey-Brookes, October 05

Gardening advice for October

Autumn is definitely here and as the leaves begin to change colour and fall off, the foremost job to do in the garden is raking and collecting leaves (lovely leafmold in the making!)

Early frosts are just around the corner so now is the time to prepare. Move containers to the shelter of a wall and start to cover tender plants such as tree ferns with horticultural fleece or wrap up well with bubble wrap.

While some plants need to be lifted and placed into a well insulated greenhouse (dahlias, pelargoniums and fuchsias for example) others can benefit from leaving the previous season's growth as frost protection (penstemon). Remember, aquatic plants need to be placed in the greenhouse too. Tender shrubs and perennials will benefit from a mulch of organic matter around the root area to protect them.

Rhubarb crowns and herbaceous perennials can be divided now and climbing roses pruned. This is also, probably, the last chance you will have to mow the lawn and trim the edges. Also, now is the time to renovate the lawn and lay new turf, if necessary.

There is planting that can be done now, clematis plants, hardy annuals and barefooted ornamental trees and shrubs. Spring bedding such as wallflowers, winter pansies and primulas can also be planted now along with spring bulbs either in pots or dotted through borders and grass. Climbing and rambling roses can be pruned now and fallen rose leaves need to be collected and burnt to prevent diseases such as black spot from overwintering.

Overhanging plants on paths can be cut back now to maintain access through the garden. Don't forget this is the moment to take the opportunity to reflect on how your garden grew this year. Decide what changes you might like to make and jot them down as notes for future reference, then you can sit down and pass some time looking for and ordering seeds and plants for next year alongside sourcing the perfect having or landscaping materials for next years plans!


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

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