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This Month In Your Garden

2nd of October 2005

The autumn colours are at their best this month, yet it is already time to put in bulbs and plants so that the garden will be full of colour next spring. For the beds and borders there are daffodils and tulips, hyacinths, crocus and snowdrops. Dwarf tulips, scillas, winter aconites, chionodoxa, anemones and irises are fine in rock gardens and sink gardens. All these can be planted now but always plant the taller bulbs quite deep so that they do not fall over when they flower. Hyacinths can be planted in bowls for use indoors: use bulb fibre and choose prepared bulbs for really early flowering, keeping the bowls in the dark until shoots are about an inch high.
Wallflowers and sweet williams are planted now and so too are primroses, pansies, polyanthus and the half-hardy small cyclamen. Now is the time to plant up your hanging baskets with winter pansies, primroses, ivies and trailing plants.
Lawns will still need to be cut regularly but now is the time to apply an autumn grass fertilizer and lawn dressing. They should also be aerated and scarified. Hedges will need a final trim. Roses should still be sprayed regularly and given a final feed. Many herbaceous perennials will be past their best now and with the exception of penstemmons can be cut down. Lavendera and a number of shrubs should be lightly trimmed. All the ‘clippings’ will make good compost especially if a little Garotta is added to the compost heap or container. Borders can be mulched with manure, organic compost or bark chips. Tubers of dahlias and cannas should be lifted once the plants have died down: these should be dusted with sulphur and stored in a frost-free place until next spring.
In the vegetable garden it is time to harvest potatoes and root crops. It is also time to plant the early onion sets and to start digging and manuring the ground ready for broad beans which should be sown next month. There is still time to do a final sowing of lettuce and radish.
Now is the best time to sow sweet peas in the greenhouse so that the plants will be ready to put out next spring. Before doing this, if it is possible to empty the greenhouse completely, sterilizing with a sulphur candle will be extremely beneficial.
It is also the time to apply weedkiller such as Glyphosate to persistent weeds like ground elder, just before the plants die down for the winter.
October is a wonderful month in the garden with autumn colour at its best on trees such as the liquidamber and shrubs like the Japanese acers, blueberries, Rhus typhina and the brilliant Euonymus alatus. Do have a look at these plants and the wonderful berried shrubs that make autumn so special. Terry Simmonds

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This page is edited by Tony

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