LATE OCTOBER IN YOUR GARDEN
  • Cut back autumn fruiting raspberries to ground level
  • Continue to trim hedges
  • Continue to plant new fruit trees and bushes
  • Tidy strawberry beds, cutting back old foliage and congested runners and removing weeds
  • The strawberry runners can be planted now in well-prepared soil
  • Strawberry runners planted in containers in your greenhouse will give you a bumper early crop next season
  • Rake autumn leaves as a build up will damage your lawn
  • Fallen leaves added to a compost heap are high in nutrients
  • Fallen leaves raked into a pile in a dry sheltered corner makes the ideal home for overwintering wildlife
  • Sow sweet peas in pots, and overwinter under cover
  • Prune suckers away from the base of ornamental trees
  • Treat your lawn with an autumn feed
  • Cut back and dig up dahlia tubers, leave upside down to dry in a well-ventilated area

In the greater scheme of things all plants have a purpose and sometimes their purpose is not readily recognised.  So we tend to pick plants for the beauty of their flowers or the perfume they exude.  As we get into autumn one has to look more closely at plants to see their beauty.  It may be in the form of leaf colour, stem colour, berry or seed head.  Personally, I choose plants for how they look in the off-season rather the height of their glory and there are always exceptions of course.  Some plants only flower for a very short time and must be included in the garden.  I’m thinking of Romneya coulteri for instance with its silk like blooms but back to my favourite time of year autumn,

The simple Virginia creeper which has been green all season is now at its most glorious.  The best variety to plant is known as Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston Ivy), it’s the best on for clinging to a wall, will grow in any reasonable soil not too wet.  Rhus typhina or Staghorn sumach as its often known as is an old, old favourite, glorious autumn colour, grows in any reasonable soil, can sucker a little but these suckers can be dug up this time of year to spread the colour in your garden or a friends.  Acer Bloodgood is fiery red just now, suitable for the smallest of gardens or a large tub.  Acer Sango-kaku (Coral Bark Maple) is a splendid mix of pink, orange, gold and red at the moment, again suitable for any sized garden.  If you have room for a medium sized tree Liquidambar has to be considered.  If your garden is small a small tree called Stewartia is well worth seeking out.  Next week I will cover plants with interesting fruits and berries for colour into the winter.

October