October in your garden

Bulb Colour in your garden

Try filling your garden with colour next spring by planting bulbs between October and the first frost in December. Daffodils, tulips, crocus, grape hyacinths and fritillarias are readily available in nursery gardens and online. There is a lovely website that advertises bulbs grown in Holland (dutchgrown.co.uk) with an extraordinary selection in the most beautiful colours. When you buy at garden centres you have the advantage of checking the bulbs to see they are healthy. Avoid any that are damaged, shrivelled or feel soft, and go for plump, firm bulbs. Speed is of the essence, so aim to plant within a week otherwise they will start to sprout.

Bulb placement for colour

You can plant  in a herbaceous border in order to help  fill in gaps and provide colour and interest before perennials and shrubs begin to grow in early spring. For outstanding co;our plant daffodils, winter aconites, tulips and fritillarias in order to fill in a blank period under an Acer or Hibiscus. These are all twig until May or June as they have no leaves to reduce sunlight and so there is an opportunity to utilise your garden space by underplanting with bulbs. Single species blend in with the general planting scheme of the garden if planted in drifts, alternatively try mixing different varieties to create an even and striking effect of bright colour.

Bulb care

Growing bulbs is one of the easiest ways to introduce early colour in the garden as you only need well-drained soil and some sunshine. Plant them in borders, in the lawn, around trees and in pots. As a general rule, plant bulbs two to three times their own depth and around two bulb widths apart.

Autumn colour in your garden

Look out for perennials such as Asters, Chrysanthemums, Cyclamens, Dahlias, Fuchsia Genii, Japanese Anemone and Knipofia – better known as Red hot poker. The number of colouful plants at his time of year is surprising especially when you add Virginia creeper leaf colour and the purple Berberis shrub giving quite a show.

You can double some plants and encourage colourful growth for next year by lifting and dividing herbaceous perennials. Re-plant the outside sections and give yourself two “new” plants.

FOR OCTOBER

Autumn feed your lawn.

Give hedges a final cut.

Cover your ponds with netting to prevent leaves accumulating.

Make sure grease bands are on your apple trees to prevent winter moth.

Raise the height of your mower blades for the final cuts of your lawns.

Prune any summer flowering shrubs if they require it once they have dropped their foliage.

Tidy up the dying foliage of any herbaceous perennials.

Do not forget October is the optimum month for planting spring flowering bulbs.

Dig up and store Dahlia tubers and Gladiolus corms.

Plant trees and shrubs since this is an ideal time for these plants to settle in.

Wallflowers can also be planted now to produce a colourful display in spring. Ensure they are planted quite deep to help avoid them being loosened from the ground by strong autumn winds.

If you have taken runners from strawberry plants earlier in the year

now is a good time to plant them out.

Tender Herbs Basil, Coriander, Parsley, Dill & Mint cannot withstand

frost and it is best to pot them up and bring under cover before any autumn chill.

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