October nights are starting to draw in now, getting a little chillier all the time. There is still plenty to do in the garden though, mainly focused on getting the garden winter ready and preparing for next year.
- Now is the time to start tidying up your flower borders of any old growth, and old flowering stems. Don’t forget to harvest any seed you may want to keep though first. Simply cut or pull any old leaves and stems that are around and either compost them or send them off for recycling. Take the time while your doing this, to move any perennials that maybe in the wrong spot. I know I am forever moving plants around this time of year. You may want to think about splitting and dividing congested clumps of perennials as well. Either cut the existing clump with a good sharp spade, or spit them into good sized chunks by using 2 garden forks and teasing them apart. After this has been done, add a thick layer of mulch to the border, in preparation for next years growth.
- Climbing Roses. This time of year is a perfect time to just give your climbing roses, the once over to prepare them for spring. Do this by pruning out any dead, diseased or dying stems, and any that are crossing over each other. The stems that are left should be tied back onto what supports you have already in place. Make sure the stems are tied securely in place to survive the winter weather.
- Take the time to check fences, gates and sheds for signs of looseness and rotting timber. Check any catches, locks etc , give them a good soak with spray oil. Check greenhouses are secure, check for any loose panes of glass and secure well.
- Any tender plants can be prepared for moving into a cold greenhouse or Polytunnel . A good general rule of thumb is to keep things on the dry side over winter. Winter wet will kill the majority of tender perennials and shrubs, so little and often with the water. Any borderline hardy plants that are in the ground, can be wrapped in either bubble film or fleece.
- Dahlia’s…. There are different schools of thought about whether or not to lift dahlias for the winter. I prefer to do the following. Any named varieties, or varieties that you definitely want to keep, I would lift and store over winter. You can do this either just before the frosts, or just as the frosts hit. Cut the main stem about 6 inches from soil level, shake off any excess soil, and turn upside down to dry out for a couple of days. Once the tubers have dried a little, they can be placed in a box and either dry peat, or sawdust. They can then be stored in a cool greenhouse or shed until the spring.
- October is an ideal time to plan and plant a hedge. We can advise you on any plant choices and source the plants for you. All you have to do is to send us a few pictures of the site, what you want the hedge to do (Either as a screen or as a boundary) then we can give you a quote to supply the plants and advise you on any problems you may have.
- October is a good time to plant soft fruit bushes for next year. Plant now and they will have time to establish before the winter sets in. We have a range of Raspberries, Gooseberries, Blackcurrants and Redcurrants. Ask in the garden centre for any advice on varieties you may have.
- Citrus plants, these won’t last a winter outside, so these will have to be brought into a cold greenhouse or a Conservatory for the winter. Keep them cool bright and dry and they will tick over until spring. Keep an eye out for any over wintering Aphids or Mealy Bugs, these can be easily kept in check with any of the ‘’bug sprays’’ we stock in the Garden Centre.
- Any tree fruit you have in the garden can be prepared for spring by giving the trunk and stems a winter tree wash. This will remove any over wintering pests from attacking the tree over the spring. Any Apple trees you may have may benefit from applying a grease band around the base of the trunk, this will deter any Winter Tree Moths from attacking any spring flowers.
- It may be time to give your lawns the last cut of the year. Try not to set the blades to low. Scalping the lawn this time of the year may do more harm than good. Once you are sure the mower will not be needed again this year, give it a good clean by scraping off any clumps of dry grass that accumulates under the mower. Give the airfilter a good clean of dry grass and dust. If you haven’t had it serviced in a while, now maybe the right time to arrange for a qualified lawnmower specialist to give you mower the once over.
- Give your lawns the once over. Remove any thatch that may have accumulated in the lawn, by giving it a good rake to remove any old grass and moss. Once you have done this, you can aerate the lawn by pushing a garden fork into the ground. This will relieve compaction and improve drainage over winter. Any dead patches in the lawn can be be worked on and re-seeded. Lawn edges can be redone by using turf to provide a clean line along the edge.