GARDENING TIPS FOR OCTOBER by Karen Aitkins
Autumn is upon us and the nights are drawing in but our gardens will have one last glorious display before bedding down for the winter. Autumn colours are at their best at this time of year with rusty reds, burnt oranges and golds. If you are lucky enough to have shrubs and trees with berries and fruits then they will be abundant now and the birds will love it! Blackberries will be going past their best now so better left for them.
The days are noticeably shorter now especially with the clock going back an hour at the end of the month. Less time to spend in the garden if you’re working. So weekends are all important for the keen gardener.
This is a good time of year for cleaning out the green house. Make sure the windows are cleaned inside and out to admit as much light as possible. Also disinfect and hose down all the insides to dislodge pests and kill off any infection.
Rake up fallen leaves and add to compost. Collect last of the fruits from any apple or pear trees. Lift and store dahlias, gladioli and other summer flowering bulbs.
Trim hedges again if necessary especially conifers but be careful not to cut into old wood as most conifers will not regenerate. Prune back climbing roses and tie back. Cut back perennials that have finished flowering and lift and divide overgrown plants to avoid
Plant tulip and lily bulbs towards the end of this month and finish planting all spring flowering bulbs and bedding plants. This is still a good time to plant out perennials as they still have time to establish before winter and the frosts are still mild.
Lawns will need less mowing as growth slows right down but it is still a good time of year to lay a new one. This is still a good time to scarify your old lawn as long as it’s not too wet.
I think you might as well put away or cover up your garden furniture and barbeque. I think we can safely say summer is now officially over. Apart from the odd bright crisp autumnal day I think sitting outside for any great length of time must be left to the more hardy of us.
Congratulations if you’ve managed to grow your own pumpkin for Halloween. It’s a messy job hollowing them out and creating ghoulish faces with the shell but good fun for the kids. You could make pumpkin soup or pie from the flesh.
Hopefully we will have a mild autumn like last year because I love this time of year. With the sun dappling through the trees there is always a heady assault of vibrant colours that only nature can produce. Gardeners can only try and copy what nature does naturally.