October is a beautiful month in the garden as autumnal colours come to the fore – a blaze of buttery golden and fiery reds creating a spectacular sight.
The summer season has come to an end and as we enter the last part of the year, it is time to start planning ahead for the colder, wetter weather and frosts.
The nights may be drawing in but there's a lot you can do now to help your garden survive the much colder months by reading our guide.
Autumn is nature’s time to plant for next year as the weather is still mild and the soil ripe and moist. Start to plant roses, trees, climbers and hardy shrubs. When planting, make sure you add fertiliser to promote strong root growth and healthy establishment before the cold snap sets in.
Continue to plant spring bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, snowdrop and crocus as they are the perfect remedy for when you need a colourful lift after a long dark winter.
The autumn months are an important time to start sowing flowers for spring colour. By sowing hardy annuals now, this will give you earlier, stronger, and bigger plants.
Containers are a great way to add autumnal colour to your garden. Bedding plants such as violas, cyclamen, heather and pansies, along with the contrasting foliage of ivy or heuchera will create a stunning display whilst the rest of your garden starts to go to rest.
Now is the best time to lay turf as the soil is still warm from the summer and moist with autumn rain. It will rarely need cutting now so scarify your lawn by raking out dead grass and moss that has built up over the summer.
Letting falling leaves accumulate can be damaging to your grass blades, since you’re restricting the amount of sunlight they need to build winter hardiness so make sure your rake them and use for leaf mulch.
If the lawn has been compacted over the year, then gently aerate with a garden fork. Then apply a high potassium feed to give the lawn the nutrients it needs to survive winter.
Grow your Own
There is still plenty that can be planted as we head into Autumn including salad leaves, onions, spring onions, carrots, broad beans, and peas. Give them the best start with a high-quality seed compost and protect with fleece as the temperatures get colder.
Plant fruit bushes such as raspberries and blackcurrants this month to be rewarded with an abundance of summer fruit. Fruit trees can also be planted ground whilst the soil is still warm, to give an abundance of blossom come spring.
The colder weather will not stop your kitchen herb garden. Continue to grow chives, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, parsley and mint on a sunny windowsill to give you a plentiful supply over winter.
As the weather cools, support garden birds by supplementing their diet with food such as seed mix, fat balls and mealworms. Place your bird feeder and bird house near tall shrubs, fences or mature trees to provide protection from predators.
The berry bearing plants such as pyracantha and cotoneaster will also help feed birds during the winter months.
October is time to tidy the garden! All that summer growth will need a trim back but think about planting some of your cuttings out into pots for next year. Remove dead plant foliage and leaves from your flowers borders, containers and vegetable plots.
As we head into the last part of the year and the warm summer days start to dwindle, it is important to protect sensitive plants. Some plants cannot survive the colder months, so they will need to be covered and protected from frosts so either move indoors or protect with horticultural fleece.
We also recommend that you mulch your garden with bark chippings or slate to help soil retain moisture, inhibit weeds and protect the roots of your plants.
If you don’t plan to use your garden furniture over the winter months, store it in the shed or garage. If you plan to leave outside, cover with plastic sheeting to protect from the elements.