October is still a productive month in the garden with summer bedding still struggling to bloom and leaves clinging to bushes and trees. But there are several tasks you should be doing in preparation for winter.
Many summer annuals such as geraniums and lobelia are no doubt past their peak and should be cleared away to make room for planting schemes with winter interest. Empty out containers and tubs then add a few broken crocks or stones for drainage before refilling with high-quality potting compost. A reliable brand will ensure your plants have a sufficient supply of nutrients throughout the winter. Opt for winter pansies in a range of colours and include dwarf conifers or shrubby euonymous for an evergreen backdrop.
Tidying summer flowering shrubs can be carried out at this time of year. Large, billowy shrubs such as buddleias can suffer from being caught in winter gales to the extent of being uprooted. Help to prevent damaging them beyond repair by pruning them back by about half. Use some of the discarded stems to propagate a few cuttings. Simply take a woody, pencil thick shoot about twelve inches long and trim below a leaf joint. Remove any remaining leaves and push the cutting into moist soil to a depth of about three inches. By spring it will have rooted.
Your borders of perennials such as meadow cranesbill, phlox and penstemons will have worked hard throughout the summer depleting the nutrients in the soil. Tidy weeds and fallen leaves then fork through the border to aerate the soil. Add some home grown compost or work in a bag of compost to enrich the soil. Autumn is a perfect time for rearranging perennials that may have grown too large for the space or simply to create a new look for next year. When you have reassessed your borders, add a surface mulch of deliciously aromatic bark chips to keep them snug all winter long.
Creating A New Border
Large areas of slabbing in a front garden can be instantly made more attractive by adding a few raised beds or extra large containers which will still leave plenty of room for parking the car. Once in place ensure they have adequate drainage and a layer of large stones or gravel to prevent them becoming waterlogged. Use compost to fill them before adding interesting shrubs, perennials and spring bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths.
A new lawn can easily be laid at this time of year. Prepare the area by removing weeds and stones. An easy way to ensure the area has a firm base is to spread a thick layer of stone free pre-turfing top soil. It contains special organic conditioners to slowly release the exact amount of nutrients that a new lawn needs for up to four months. Rake the surface level before laying your lengths of turf. Visit Greenvale for all your gardening supplies.