Garden jobs in October

For ‘tis 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

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.

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. It’s also a good time to buy and plant pot grown plants,
and shrubs, they will get their roots into the soil while it is still warm.

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 (or loo rolls) and cover with glass or polythene
until seedlings break through the 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.

Bring squashes and pumpkins into cure – they develop a thick
skin which makes them keep better. On dry, bright days put them out in the sun
but if there is a chance of rain leave them undercover or on a bright

Mulch, with a layer of compost, around the base of any
tender perennials to protect from frosts.

I’ve noticed some box plants in pits are looking a little
yellow right now so have fed them with a liquid feed high in iron. Sequested
iron is used for camellias etc but can provide the nutrients needed to green up
leaves on yellowing plants.

It is still warm enough to use nematodes against vine
weevil  if you get a move on. I’ve just
had an email from a client telling me hers arrived in the post this week. Water
around the plant well first and then water the nematodes into the soil,. They
will eat the vine weevil grub which does so much damage munching its way
through roots so plants eventually die.


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, i.e. just
after flowering time, rambler roses can have flowering 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 – give them a pick me up with a
gentle application of nitrogen 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 – the more the better as it means you can pinch a stem for a vase next
spring without the group looking bereft!

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.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of
your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you
are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and
paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a
handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing
rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.