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Mzzz B's October Garden

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September has gone with a flavour of summer, but now autumn is here, raining and cold.

Returning from holiday you may have found, as I did, difficulty in getting into the house. We almost had to hack our way in, as climbers and shrubs had done a huge amount of growing. The wisteria was definitely trying to come in through the kitchen door!

This is a good time to reflect on how your garden looks now, is there still colour, things in flower? If you look at other gardens they may well be awash with lots of colour from annuals, which should bloom until the frosts, or late flowering perennials like dahlias, heleniums, eryngiums, salvias. Grasses and shrubs can now come into their own and remain for the winter. There are now lots of hydrangeas around, not just the old fashioned mob cap ones, that flower all summer gand now still hold their flowers for the winter.

Things to do for this month:

  • Keep dead heading as this will keep those annuals going.
  • Start cutting back things that have actually gone over or are flopping over other plants. But remember to keep seedheads that look good for the birds — it is always a judgement how much to cut back and what to leave. Last spring I was enchanted to see chaffinches on phlomis seedheads, and greenfinches on the rosa rugosa hips.
  • Start dividing perennials that have out grown their space, the soil is still warm so they will continue to grow after division.
  • Time to think about spring and plant daffodils, wait to plant tulips until November as this avoids disease.
  • Sow wild flower seeds and try to get yellow rattle if you are thinking about this, it needs to be sown by November.Yellow rattle is a parasite on grass and reduces its vigour thereby providing space for wild flowers.
  • Collect seeds of annuals and perennials and store in a dry cool place.
  • Take cuttings of roses, semi ripe cutting of other plants.
  • Prune shrub roses to reduce wind rock over the winter.
  • Plant garlic so that it gets the cold it needs to divide the bulb, but protect from really cold weather.
  • Last year we had a very early frost so keep an eye on the weather and bring in tender perennials and plants in pots if it looks like frost.

Photograph of Aeonium Voodoo, which has reached an astonishing 35 centimetres across!

You can find out more about taking cuttings, dividing plants etc on the Royal Horticultural Society website CLICK HERE and Monty Don's gardening advice blog CLICK HERE

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