Although October is a busy time in the garden, there is something peaceful about Autumn, almost serene.
It’s the season when plants put on some of their most magnificent displays and rather than thinking that winter is coming and it’s time for winding down, Autumn can be a hive of activity for gardeners.
This is the best time of year for planting, and in fact October is really your last chance before Winter sets in.
Plants are going into dormancy and therefore have the Winter to get their roots down and become established.
Their demand for water will not be so great throughout the Winter and planting now means the soil is still warm before frosts begin to kick in.
It’s a particularly good time of year for planting larger plants, trees, shrubs and conifers.
National Conifer Week, which takes place in October, highlights the many benefits of growing conifers in your garden.
Overlooked in the past by gardeners, conifers are making a comeback particularly in the urban garden.
According to a Horticultural Trades Association survey, nearly a third of garden owners have a conifer in their garden, making them an integral part of any garden design.
From a small balcony to acres of grounds with space, conifers can add something truly special to any garden.
With just one £50 National Garden Gift Voucher you can bring colour, structure and drama to your garden or doorstep as conifers are extremely versatile, coming in an amazingly diverse range of shades, textures, shapes and sizes.
Another way to bring colour to the garden at this time of year is with Autumn bedding plants. One of the most exciitng group of plants to brighten up any part of the garden is Heuchera. Native to North America where their roots, know as alumroot, have been used in traditional medicines for years, Heuchera were originally grown for their flowers – dainty spikes of red, pink and white bells.
They carry their plume like flowers high above their crowns of leaves, but gardeners are now mainly interested in their foliage which comes in a variety of colours.
In the 1980s a purple-leaved heuchera was found growing in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.
The new variety was named Palace Purple in honour of Kew Palace and was the beginning of an explosion in new varieties of colourful heuchera.
Heucheras grow in full or partial sun, in well composted soil and are fairly pest resistant. They can be established as ground cover in many garden situations like under trees where grass could struggle.
In addition to keeping borders looking good, October is often a time spent clearing up after the Summer and preparing for the Winter and Spring ahead.
But it's not without its rewards. Here's what you need to be doing to keep your garden looking good and keep an eye out at your local garden centre for other Autumn related tasks as part of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) ‘Plan it, Plant it this Autumn’ campaign:-
•Plant Autumn colour
•Create a bird feeding area
•Move tender plants inside or into a greenhouse to protect against frost, or fleece
•Harvest autumn vegetables
•Collect falling leaves
•Plant spring flowering bulbs
•Prune tall growing roses
•Dead head all faded flower heads and remove any parts of plants that have died back