Garden Jobs to do in October
October can be, like the spring months, one of the busiest times in the garden. Preparation for next year’s flowers and harvest really begins now. Everything needs to be tidied, harvested, and some plants need covering from the frosts or brought inside.
As soon as the first frosts bring down the dahlia leaves, lift the tubers and bring into a dry frost free place to dry. Store them carefully in sacks until the spring.
Continue to dead head but save some seed heads for sowing or to allow the plants to self seed naturally. Most plants love to seed into gravel, so shake the seed heads around edges of gravelled areas for a soft, natural planting look. Lupins, lavender, galaga, verbena, and alchemilla mollis all love to self seed in gravel. Don’t dead head all the agapanthus as this will self seed too.
Divide any clumps of self sown seedlings such as sweet rocket, forget-me-nots, foxgloves and sweet william. Transplant them to final positions.
Lift and divide large clumps of perennials such as geraniums and phlox. Water them well, and they will form strong healthy plants again next year.
Plan for next year, work out colour schemes and structure, and plant new shrubs and trees now; they will establish really well at this time of the year. I have a rule; if it isn't beautiful or productive, I don't need it in the garden, so have planted with a view to either cutting for the house, or eating!
Scarify and feed the lawns, and mow carefully for the last time this year. October is the best month for laying turf so doing that project or filling any gaps can be done now. Keep tidying for the winter, but leave some piles of leaves in which hedgehogs can hibernate safely.
Order plenty of bulbs for containers and borders. Plant the containers with bulbs, and top them with winter flowering pansies and some of the forget-me-not seedlings; they’ll be gorgeous in the spring.
Sow annual seeds for next year, such as sweet peas, especially sweet peas, ammi, cerinthe, stocks, and antirrhinums. Keep under cover until the spring and the headstart you give them now will reward you with plants much much taller and stronger than they would be if you sowed them next year.
Cut the last of the annual flowers and enjoy them in the house. Arrange branches of autumn leaves, allium seed heads, drying hydrangea flowers, pine cones and feathers into beautiful autumnal displays.