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A garden border in October, with yellow coreopsis and purple bizzy lizzie in the foreground

Gardening jobs for October

by gemmamelling

With frosts yet to come to the Lowton area, we still have quite a bit of colour hanging on in the garden at the moment.

We’re still enjoying our dahlias, zinnias, poppies, cosmos, sweetpeas and coreopsis, in particular.

But we know we’re on borrowed time… and October really is a month when we start preparing for autumn, winter, and even spring in the garden.

Here’s a couple of jobs for your to-do list this month:

Continue planting spring bulbs and autumn/winter planters

Purple anemone flower

Plant anemone bulbs in October for lovely colour next year.

There’s still time to get in your daffodils, crocus, iris, muscari and more. I’ve usually do a lot of bulb planting in September but still have loads to do, so that’s a definite October job for me. As well as the spring bulbs I’ll also be planting allium and anemones, too.

Get ready to overwinter your tender perennials  

peach coloured dahlia flower

If you want to guarantee your dahlias will return next year, you need to take action now.

Dahlias will carry on flowering until the first frosts – which will kill them straight away. But they’re not ‘dead – their tubers can now be dug up and kept frost free over the winter to be replanted next year. I usually cut back all the foliage once the frosts have come, dig up the tuber and put it in the shed wrapped in fleece to dry. Once it is dry – in a week or so – you can store it in some dry, spent compost, or wrap thoroughly in fleece – and forget about it until spring. You can do something similar with Begonia tubers and Gladioli corns. Of course – if we get a mild winter – these tubers may survive left in the ground, with a generous covering of mulch. So if digging up and storing isn’t possible you can leave them and hope for the best – but there’s no guarantees!

There are other plants in your garden that can live to bloom another summer – but they’ll need some help surviving the colder weather. They include some kinds of geraniums, fuchsias and gazanias.

Pot up some Christmas indoor bulbs

Red amaryllis flowers

Plant amaryllis in pots indoors during October for flowers at Christmas.

If you want an amaryllis for Christmas, this is the month to do it. You can also put prepared daffodil bulbs in pots and look forward to them flowering in about 10 weeks’ time.

Have a good tidy up of the garden

We’ve just spent a weekend tidying up outside. We cut back lots of foliage from plants that were past their best, cut down faded sunflowers and gave all the patio a much-overdue jetwash. It looks brilliant, I have to say. If you don’t have a jetwash, or don’t fancy doing it yourself, there are several companies in our Local Directory that can do it for you, so take a look. If you have a greenhouse, it’s also a good idea to give this a good clean down around this time. You should also rake up fallen leaves – and these can be stored in bin bags to rot down for leafmould, if you wish. Now is also a good time to give your lawn a good feed and you can even put down some grass seed if you have patches to fill.

You can also support some of our creepy crawlie friends by creating log or twig piles which will be perfect for them to take shelter in over winter.

Mulch, mulch, mulch

Handful of soil to be used as mulch

If you’re removing faded annuals and digging up perennials to overwinter, your borders will be looking a little more bare this month. Once you’ve tidied them apply a generous amount of mulch – simply this means something like bark chips, well rotted manure, leaf mould or spent mushroom compost. You can even add spent compost from containers. This will help insulate the roots of the plants which remain against the winter cold and will prevent excessive weed growth.

It’s a good time to plant trees, too

Autumn is the ideal time to plant new trees, or shrubs – or to move existing ones, if you need to.

Cut down autumn fruiting raspberries

Raspberries hanging from a plant

We bought a raspberry ‘polka’ plant from Newbank Garden Centre in June – planted it at the back of the border and almost forgot about it a bit. I have to say, it grew really strongly and we’ve had a surprising amount of fruit in this first year! Once it’s definitely stopped fruiting I will cut it right back to the ground – and probably forget about it again… fingers crossed it will surprise us with even more lovely fruit next year!

Growing pumpkins or squashes?

Make sure you harvest them before the first frosts – otherwise you run the risk that they turn mushy and horrible.

In need of some help in your garden?

Check out the local gardening companies we have listed in our Lowton and Golborne Directory if you need help in the garden – from mowing the lawn to total landscaping projects.

About the author:

My name is Gemma. I’m the editor of Lowton & Golborne News and a very keen but amateur gardener. I mainly enjoy growing flowers in my small garden in Lowton, but this year, for the first time, I’ve been growing veggies too – all in containers. You can follow my garden on Instagram @gandtgarden.

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