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October Garden Guide: Nurture your garden for a vibrant spring

The October garden guide covers the essential tasks to consider during this month. In this blog we will be exploring important gardening tasks for October. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, the blog will provide you with valuable tips and insights to keep your garden thriving. So, let’s dive in!  

Our October garden guide is sharing tasks that can be carried out this month. The images shows the evening sun bursting through a perennial flower border

October Garden Guide: Looking after your plants

October is a beautiful time for dealing with herbaceous perennials, sowing seeds, preparing our vegetable gardens, and lawns for next year! It is also a time when we look to planting bulbs for the festive season and beyond. I love this time of year in the garden as we begin to plan ahead.

Propagation is high on the list during October and if you enjoy sweet peas or would love to have some in your garden, now is the ideal month for sowing them.

They need to be kept in a cold frame or an unheated greenhouse, as they will need some winter protection. By sowing them now, you will have young plants ready for planting out in March or April next year.

One of the easiest ways to have plants for free is through bulblets, offsets and division. Bulblets and offsets can be found on bulbs.

Our October Garden guide covers dividing perennials. The image shows Rudbeckia deamii flowering. It is one of the late perennial plants that are good for dividing to create new plants.

October Garden Guide: Plant Division

The October garden guide wouldn’t be complete without touching upon a key activity plant division. The technique of plant division is commonly used on various perennial plants that have clumping or spreading growth habits. Here are some popular plants that can be divided using this technique:

Astilbes, Geraniums, Hostas, Daylilies, Peonies, Rudbeckia’s, Monarda’s and Siberian iris.

Hot Tip:

If your garden is light and sandy or free draining, then dividing herbaceous perennials in October is a great month to conduct this task.
However, if your garden soil is heavy clay or holds the water during the winter period then it is best to consider doing this task in the spring, especially for the more fiberous and shallow rooting perennials.

Perennials that can grow in moist soils such as hostas, daylilies and Siberian iris can be divided during October. When it comes to dividing ornamental grasses, spring is the best time for doing this.

These are just a few examples, of the many other perennial plants that can be successfully divided. It’s always best to research specific plants to understand their division requirements and the best time to divide them.

The images shows a cluster of dwarf Crocosmia. They are more commonly known as Montbretia

October Garden Guide: Bulb Planting

Another October garden guide essential is bulb planting. Staying in the garden, but we are now looking at bulb planting. Are you considering planting daffodil bulbs? You will not be disappointed if  you choose scented narcissus for their sweet aromas! How about  exploring a selection of unusual daffodil varieties for something new and exciting. These early preparations will ensure a spectacular display in springtime.

Additionally, don’t forget about crocus bulbs. Plant them in borders and containers for bright jewel colours that will greet you as winter gives way to spring.

For those who grow gladioli, it’s important to lift the corms as soon as possible for drying. Remove any soil, cut back the old foliage and flower spikes, and store them through winter. This way, you’ll be ready to replant them in late spring for another season of beautiful blooms.

Our October Garden guide can help you with key tasks to carry out this month in the garden. Dahlias are on topic this month, the image shows a close up of Dahlia Arabian Night in full bloom.

Dealing with Dahlia's

Similarly, lift your dahlia tubers after the first frosts. Cut the hollow stems down to approximately 10cm (4″) above the tuber and allow any water to drain out by placing them upside down.

Once dry, store them in frost-free conditions until it’s time to plant them again.

I have left my gladioli bulbs in for several seasons now, as my garden soil drains freely in the winter.

However, growing on a heavy wet clay, can contribute to tubers rotting off during the winter months. The best option for overwintering dahlias is to store then in a place that is frost free. Before storing the tubers, ensure they are fully dry to reduce the risk of rotting tubers during winter.

One of the biggest winter killers is roots and tubers rotting off by standing in wet soils for too long.

Tree Planting During the Dormant Season

October garden guide, nurture your garden for a vibrant spring may begin with the planting of a bare rooted tree. The image shows an oak sapling cupped in a mans hand.

In the latter part of October, we transition into what’s termed the Bare Root season in the horticultural realm. Here, nursery growers commence the process of lifting trees, shrubs, and roses as bare-rooted plants, ideal for planting in our gardens. This presents a unique opportunity to acquire larger plants at a more economical price compared to potted alternatives. To make the most of this, it’s crucial to plan ahead and select the right trees, shrubs, or roses. My forthcoming article will delve deeper into the intricacies of choosing roses as bare-rooted plants, but for now, let’s focus on trees and specimen shrubs.

When preparing for the bare-root season, it’s essential to initiate our research early in the month. The bare-root season extends from November to mid-March, allowing ample time for both purchasing and planting. Given the influx of pests and diseases through foreign imports, a proactive approach is advisable. I strongly recommend opting for homegrown British trees. This not only safeguards your garden from potential foreign bugs and diseases but also contributes to the ecological integrity of your surroundings. This, in turn, fosters a robust environment for native wildlife, spanning from beetles to birds and every insect in between.

To support this initiative, it’s vital to nurture our native habitats, both in urban and rural settings. In this article, there is a curated list of nursery growers featuring dedicated sections for homegrown British trees. Explore this resource to make informed and environmentally conscious choices for your garden. Let’s cultivate a thriving environment for our flora and fauna.

October Gardening Guide: Conclusion

Before we wrap up, the October garden guide wouldn’t be complete without tender perennials. So, let’s cover some tender perennials that have been grow in containers. If you have container-grown tender perennials like fuchsias and begonias, it’s time to move them into a frost-free greenhouse. This will protect them from the low temperatures that occur at night during this month.

Pot up any tender perennials that are still in the border and move them to a frost-free space for overwintering. Be sure to trim back any leggy or tall top growth on your perennial plants as well.

Lastly, let’s touch on pond care. Remove any water features from the pond this month and give them a thorough cleaning. Store them in a frost-free place to protect them from potential frost damage.

October garden guide: nurturing your garden for a vibrant spring would be complete without covering the basics on pond care. The images shows a mature garden pond filled with pond plants

And finally.... Pond care

If you have tender plants in the pond, take them out and overwinter them in a frost-free area. Keep the plants moist by submerging them in water or storing them in damp sand or mud.

Continue to remove dead leaves from the pond surface to keep its cleanliness. Lastly, provide your fish with a high-protein feed to help them build up strength for the coming winter months.

That wraps up our October gardening guide covering plants, propagation and more. We hope you found these tips helpful and inspiring as you tend to your garden in October. Remember, taking care of your garden now will ensure a colourful and beautiful season next year. Follow on with the next article in this series of October gardening insights and tips, here.

Happy gardening, Kristian

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You may be on catch up, the following articles can help you keep on track of those key tasks of the month.

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