Seasonal Gardening provides a month by month account of tasks that need to be done in the garden. Our free online guide is packed with hints, tips, helpful projects and useful gardening ideas for every season.
Covering the whole of the UK (Great Britain, England, Scotland & Wales)
What to do this month
propagating your own plants
October is the time to get the garden ready for Winter. Although the days may still be warm and sunny the nights are getting colder and the days are getting shorter. Don't be caught out, as there is sure to be a sudden cold snap and even a frosty night or two before the end of the month. So prepare protection (or storage) for those tender plants and keep a close eye on the weather forecast each evening.
Dig up tender corms, rhizomes and tubers and store them in a dark, dry, frost free place. This will protect them against water logging and severe weather in winter. Cut off the top growth and brush off any soil around the roots, then box them up in dry compost. Pot them up again in the spring to bring them back into growth.
If you are leaving semi-tender plants such a cannas or dahlias in the ground, then mulch around the roots by adding a layer of well rotted fibrous organic material, on top of the soil. This traps air and provides a layer of insulation that will reduce the penetration of frost. Add a layer at least 2 inches (5cm) deep, covering at least 8 inches (20cm) around the main stems.
Protect the central growing points of tender plants by packing dry straw around them. This will help to insulate them from intense wind and cold.
Wet-intolerant alpines and root vegetables can be covered with glass, plastic or fleece cloches over the winter months to reduce frost damage. Ventilate when temperatures are above 5°C to prevent damp and mould growth.
New plant descriptions added:
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) and other colourful vines are at their very best now, providing a dramatic burgundy and red backdrop to the late flower borders.
Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, England
Started in 1829 by Robert Staynor and maintained by the Forestry Commission since 1956, Westonbirt Arboretum holds one of Britain's oldest and largest tree collections.
The Jay is a brightly coloured, nervous shy bird, that is not so often seen in UK gardens.