October definitely can feel like a month for tidying and beginning the putting the garden to bed. It’s important to start preparing for frost and keeping on top of the fallen leaves even if it does feel like a never-ending battle. It is essential to ensure light is getting through to the plants and to prevent diseases spreading.
It is a good time to finish off pruning jobs, such as any left-over climbing roses and deciduous hedges. You can tidy shrubs that are normally cut back hard in spring. You might be ready to put away that mower after some final cuts and edge tidies (check it is clean and whether it is due for a service).
You may well be fed up of planting bulbs, especially if you have interested squirrels nearby but persist and you will be rewarded in the spring. Try to have a plan; bulbs at the bottom of espalier trees, dotted through the lawn or in colour groups so that you have varied interest and it will help you remember where you planted them.
Make sure you have collected any final seeds from your flowering plants. Move any tender plants into greenhouses, conservatories or your home. If they can’t be moved use fleece to cover. A layer of ornamental bark may be enough to protect plants wintering underground such as herbaceous perennials.
You may have some summer vegetables still left, it is time for a final harvest and then clear the plants into the compost. Check any stored fruit or vegetables for signs of deterioration and clear out as necessary. Winter salads can still be planted, choose frost hardy plants. Check your sprouts and remove any yellowing leaves to ensure a healthy Christmas crop.
And most importantly harvest and carve those pumpkins.
Words: Jude Eastick, Company Director & Head Gardener