Garden jobs in October

T’is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but what is there for gardeners to do this month? Here’s my latest update on what you should be getting up to in the garden in October

Enjoy the autumn skies

This is my favourite time of year. I know I should love summer with its heady mix of annuals and perennials making borders look like a Monet painting but for me, spring and autumn are my favorite times of the year. I love the moment the soil awakens in Spring and up pop all my autumn planted bulbs. I love the way new seeds uncoil from the ground pushing clods of earth aside. In autumn I love the mists, the glistening cobwebs, watching spiders spin their way from plant to plant and birds stealing the last seeds from spent seed heads.

A sculptural seed head at Wing sculpture garden in Rutland

 General gardening

While the soil is still warm and damp, lift and divide herbaceous perennials. Replenish the soil with well-rotted compost (and with plenty of coarse grit if the soil is heavy clay). Replant the strongest, outer pieces and water well. Also it is a good time to buy and plant new plants, and shrubs.

Pull out sweet peas and beans remembering to leave roots in the soil to add nitrogen. Sow sweetpeas now for early flowering next year. They benefit from the winter shelter of a cold greenhouse or frame. Sow 5in deep into long root trainer pots and cover with glass or polythene until seedlings break through surface. Keep in cool, light conditions to prevent weak growth and thin out as they grow pinching out the tips to create strong bushy plants

Move tender plants indoors or under glass.


Prune roses now to prevent wind damage over winter

Shorten any long lanky stems on shrub roses to reduce their vulnerability to the wind. Floribunda roses that have finished flowering for the year may also be given the same treatment. If not completed earlier, just after flowering time, rambler roses can have flowered stems removed and new stems tied into position.


Place a cloche over a row of parsley, to keep up supplies over the winter. Tired plants may be encouraged up with a gentle application of nitrogenous fertiliser.

Prepare for next Spring

Plant bulbs now to give you an impressive display next spring. If you want a natural look, throw handfuls of bulbs directly onto the lawn or soil and plant them where they fall. In borders opt for large clumps of bulbs – you’ll get a much better display. I always plant tulip bulbs in groups of 5 or more.

Think about planting a new ornamental tree – I have my eye on a Liquid amber to add interest next Autumn and to provide fabulous scent when I crush it’s leaves.

If you have a garden project in mind and need some garden design advice or help with planting then please get in touch. I work on garden design projects across Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northampton. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.