Wow October already! It truly has been one of the best years for growing. With last month’s ‘Indian’ summer along with the warm start to the autumn season this continues to be a kind year to gardeners and more importantly those of us able to be outside enjoying the garden.
With the fantastic sunny weather it should mean vivid autumn leaf colours this year. Often forgotten by people planting gardens, a must is to make plenty of space for trees or shrubs that provide autumn colour – either for foliage or berry colour. See my list at the end of the article for plants that should be in your garden, if not already so.
Also this month is National Conifer Week 27 September to 5 October 2014. Look in your local garden centre or nursery for a fantastic range of ornamental conifers, a versatile plant that has started to become popular again due to the choice of colours, shapes, low maintenance gardening and super hardy temperament.
Allotment or Vegetable Patch:
- Now is the time to wrap grease bands around the trunks of fruit trees to protect them from winter moths, I tend to leave grease or bands on all year round to stop any crawling pests.
- Plant out Japanese onion sets and garlic.
- Prune back canes of autumn-fruiting raspberries and blackberries after harvesting. Also tidy strawberry beds, cutting back old foliage and runners and removing weeds.
- Spread a thick layer of homemade compost or farmyard manure to dig into your soil over winter.
- Sow green manure crops over bare areas of soil.
- Prune suckers away from the base of fruit trees
In the Greenhouse:
- Clear fallen leaves from greenhouse roof and gutters, clean glazing to let in maximum light and clear out old crops and growing bags, adding all to the compost heap.
- Insulate the greenhouse with bubble polythene.
- Pick and lay out green tomatoes from outdoor crops to ripen under cover or on a window sill, speed the process up with the help of a banana.
- chillies, peppers should still be cropping so continue to harvest, if you have just picked the last crop why not try preserving them in olive oil to make chilli oil.
- Check heaters are working efficiently and buy fuel.
- Sow pots of hardy winter lettuces (Check)
General Garden Maintenance:
- Spike compacted lawns and brush sand and sulphate of iron into the holes to improve drainage, green up and kill and prevent moss in lawns. Apply an autumn lawn food.
- Order bare root roses and prepare the soil well before planting.
- Prune suckers away from the base of ornamental trees.
- Look in nurseries or garden centres for the new season’s collection of seeds or send off for seed catalogues.
- Clean out bird boxes, remember that nesting birds are a useful friend in the garden.
- There are a lot of berries this year so if using holly as a Christmas decoration, throw a net over branches to protect them from hungry birds.
- Collect and compost any fallen autumn leaves.
- Collect seeds and berries from shrubs and flowering plants that you want to propagate and also take hard wood cuttings from cornus, ribes, salix and roses – please contact me for advice about certain plants and shrubs.
- Plant out spring bedding, including pansies, wallflowers and forget-me-nots. Buy primroses and primulas for seasonal winter colour.
- A tip I keep coming back to is this – pile bark mulch over the crowns of hardy fuchsias, dahlias and agapanthus etc to provide winter protection.
Plants for Autumn Colour:
Nandina domestica : Leaf Colour
Abelia : Leaf Colour
Heuchera: Leaf Colour
Enkianthus: Leaf Colour
Euonymus alatus: Leaf Colour
Acer palmatum: Leaf Colour
Prunus ‘Ko Jo No Mai’: Leaf Colour
Cotinus ‘Little Lady’ or ‘Grace’
Arbutus unedo: (Strawberry Tree): Leaf Colour
Leucothoe ‘Rainbow’: Leaf Colour
Berberis: Leaf Colour
Conifers: Foliage Colour
Sorbus (Rowan / Mountain Ash): Berries / Leaf Colour
Azalea (deciduous): Leaf Colour
So there are plenty of ways to get colour into your garden, visit your local garden centre or plant nursery for inspiration.
Please keep contacting me with your problems
OR about visiting your garden to feature in the magazine.