As we welcome the start of October, autumn seems to have well and truly set in. The swallows and house martins are gathering ready to fly off to hotter climates and will soon be gone for the year. The weather is turning wetter and colder outside so it’s a great time of year to start looking at your indoor plants. Keeping houseplants is great for your well-being. They fill your environment with oxygen and filter out pollutants, and with the prospect of lockdown, their mood-lifting benefits can bring a good deal of ‘warmth and happiness’ to your living spaces. We’ve had a brand-new supply in and there are some really lovely plants in the shop at the moment.

Pop in to see us and have a look. While you’re at it why not stop off at the café and have a little treat for yourself!. We’ve brought back one of your autumn favourites –  Black Forest Cream Tea. The scrumptious delight includes a chocolate scone, cherry jam and clotted cream with a pot of tea.

But back to gardening. Hopefully, the weather will be kind through the month so that all last-minute jobs can be done before the clocks change.

Plant of the month – ACER

This month we are focusing on acers. These wonderful trees make amazingly displays at this time of year and their leaves are shades of brilliant orange, burnishes gold and crimson, which are an amazing sight. In the North of America, they are truly splendid lining avenues with their glorious colour. A favourite of ours is acer palmatum  (commonly known as Japanese maple) a beautiful specimen which is an excellent choice for you if you have a larger garden. Its red-purple leaves turn brilliant scarlet in autumn before the drop. Smaller gardens can choose acer palmatum dissectum which likes to be grown in shade, it’s a slow grower and reaches around 1.2 x1.5 meters.

Things to do in October 

  • Finish planting evergreen shrubs. Mulching will help them to survive the winter too.
  • Plant new climbers and perennials.
  • Put in tulip and lily bulbs. We have a great range of spring-flowering bulbs now in stock.
  • Empty and clean summer hanging baskets, and refill with pansies or violas, ivy, cyclamen etc for winter colour. We have locally grown autumn bedding in stock now.
  • Divide overgrown perennials. Two forks back to back in the middle of the clump and then prised apart works really well.
  • Lift and store dahlias, gladioli and summer flowering bulbs. Allowing dahlias to stand ‘upside-down’ to dry out will help them not to rot off during the winter.
  • Cut down the dying tops of perennial vegetables.
  • Lift and divide rhubarb. Cover with a mulch to protect the crown during the winter.
  • Rake up fallen leaves, and pile them up to make leaf mould, or stuff into bags at the back of the compost heap. Remember to make a few holes in the bag first to let air in and water out!
  • Continue clearing up the garden, and burn or bin debris, especially burn any that shows signs of fungal infection, for example rose leaves with blackspot.
  • Dig over empty areas of soil. I find it helpful to cover with old carpet or recycled black plastic to keep weeds down and the soil will warm up much more quickly in the spring. Alternatively, consider sowing a green manure. Green manures are fast-growing plants sown to cover bare soil. Often used in the vegetable garden, their foliage smothers weeds and their roots prevent soil erosion. When dug into the ground while still green (hence the name), they return valuable nutrients to the soil and improve soil structure.
  • Tidy ponds and remove pumps for the Winter.

This is your last chance to….

  • Finish planting spring bedding.
  • Finish planting spring flowering bulbs.

Get in Front….

  • Prepare for planting bare-rooted stock next month.
  • Make early sowing of broad beans for next year.
  • Sow sweet peas for next year under cover.

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