Advice for October

As the days are about to shorten and the mornings have that autumn feel about them what we do in our gardens in October often shapes and informs how they will look like in spring. Pruning and trimming established shrubs keeps them in good shape and saves them from being bent and broken by heavy winds, rain and dare I say it that dreaded white stuff. Planting bulbs now will ensure a colourful display from February until April and selecting colourful winter hardy plants for pots keeps them looking vibrant when the days turn gloomy. If you have a sheltered frame or greenhouse there is still time to sow lettuce, spring cabbage, chard and mixed leaves.

October is a good time to buy winter pansies, cyclamen (make sure they are hardy ), heathers and bareroot wallflowers to brighten up spring borders. One of the marvels of October is also our abundance of fruit both cultivated and wild. Apples, pears and plums all need harvesting but if you lack fruit trees nature gives us blackberries,sloes, elderberries, hips and crabapples. Birstwith occupants I know are avid harvesters, I meet many as I furtively head for my favourite bushes. Now is also an excellent time to plant new strawberry plants or pot up runners of existing plants in order to replenish stocks.

Enjoy your gardening and don’t forget if it’s a tad chilly outside that compost heap always wants turning.

Maureen Smith

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