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I’m delighted to feature today the first of two guest posts by Lynne Dixon examining the work of some of our early female housing campaigners and reformers. Lynne has a background in historical geography, town planning, the environment and education. Over the last few years she has been researching and writing about different aspects of […]

‘Till we have built Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land’: Women’s Influence on State Housing in the Era of World War 1 and After — Municipal Dreams

Many media outlets have been reporting that ‘Storm Aiden’ will batter Britain with strong winds and heavy rain this weekend.  Over the last few days, weather forecasting computers – known as Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models – have been predicting a deep area of low pressure to develop close to the UK this weekend, bringing […]

Storm Alex, so why not Storm Aiden? — Official blog of the Met Office news team

IMG_7289The nights are squeezing the light of day, despite sunshine there’s a chill in the air, and mornings are often shrouded in mist and fog. October marks the real onset of autumn, I think – here are a few important things to do in the garden this month.

1. Leaf litter pick

Clear up fallen autumn leaves regularly, including rose leaves, to prevent diseases such as black spot from over-wintering – don’t compost these leaves. Create compost bins for collecting fallen leaves and dead plant material or a separate ‘Leaf mould’ bin if you want to create this wonderful material – stuffing leaves in black plastic bags is another option.

Using black bags for leaf mould making

Using black bags for leaf mould making

 

2. Cut backs

Cut down stalks of perennials that have died down, unless they have some winter or wildlife merit. Clear overhanging plants away from pathways and prune climbing roses and rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering, tying in the stems before autumn winds cause damage.

3. Parting is such sweet sorrow

Divide herbaceous perennials and rhubarb crowns. This is also the time to move trees and shrubs, and plant hedges.

Dividing rhubarb crowns as well as herbaceous perennials can be done safely now

Dividing rhubarb crowns as well as herbaceous perennials can be done safely now

 

4. Come in out of the cold

Move tender plants, including aquatic ones, into the greenhouse or other frost-free place. Lift Dahlias and Begonia tubers and Gladiolus corms to store in the dry (removing the dead leaves before storing them). Cannas, Pelargoniums/Geraniums and fuchsias can also be lifted before any proper frost. Trim back soft growth on geraniums and fuchsias, potting them into multi-purpose compost and keeping them barely moist over the winter in a cool frost-free place.

5. Food – strip, store and plant

Strip: Apples, pears, grapes and nuts can all be harvested as can squashes and pumpkins before the first frosts. Finish harvesting beans and peas and once finished cut the plant away at ground level, leaving the roots in the soil as these have nodules on them that have fixed nitrogen from the air and will slowly release this as the roots break down. Any plants with green tomatoes or peppers remaining can be hung upside down indoors to ripen.

Store: Check over any  stored onions, garlic and potatoes and remove any rotten ones immediately. Try to improve air flow around your stored veg to prevent rot e.g use onion bags or hessian sacks.

Plant: spring cabbages, garlic bulbs and onion sets. Reuse old grow bags by cutting off the top and sowing late salad crops – cropping can be extended into winter if grown under glass or a cloche. Autumn is an ideal time to plant bare root fruit trees – alternatively order fruit trees now in preparation for spring planting.

Careful storage of apples will give you a supply well into winter

Careful storage of apples will give you a supply well into winter

 

6. Sourcing seeds

Collect seed heads from perennials, alpines, trees and shrubs. Order seeds for next year.

Save money by saving seed

Save money by saving seed

 

7. Spring loaded

Plant spring bedding such as wallflowers, Bellis, Primulas and winter pansies. Now is the ideal time to plant Clematis. Finish planting spring bulbs such as Narcissi and Crocuses – Tulips can wait until November.

 

8  Grassy act

Finish off essential lawn maintenance to avoid water logging and compaction over winter (see September tips for more detail).  Fresh turf can still be laid now – Autumn rains (assuming we have some) should ensure the turf settles in.

9. Odds and …..

Remove netting from fruit cages to allow birds to feed on any pests and invest in bird baths and bird feeders if you don’t have them – the birds you support will help you keep pest numbers down.  If you haven’t already done so, turf out the last of the tomatoes, cucumbers etc. from the Greenhouse and clean and disinfect it. This will allow more light in and prevent pests and diseases over-wintering. Set up your greenhouse heater if you have one in case of early frosts. Empty and if possible clean out water butts and let the autumn rains refill them. Maybe install a new water butt ready for next year? Check tree ties and loosen if they are too tight around growing stems – and add stakes and support for young trees and shrubs to avoid them being ‘wind rocked’ during the winter.

Check and install tree ties and support for young trees and shrubs

Check and install tree ties and support for young trees and shrubs

 

10. …Sods

Prepare your soil for next year – start digging in leaf mould, compost, manure and as much organic matter as you can lay your hands on to replace the goodness in it, though if your soil is on the sandy side, like mine, richer material like compost and manure is probably best left until the Spring when it’s nutrients are needed and they will not have leached away in the winter wet. However, if your soil is heavy, then pile it in now! It can be left in a pretty rough state over the winter when the elements will break the clods down, making spring planting that much easier.

Old School Gardener

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Some of you may know that I am a judge for the Green Flag Award, the system for assessing public parks, gardens and open spaces in the UK and beyond.

Well this year, as timescales were thrown out of kilter by the pandemic, the guys at HQ decided to ask the judges to enter a virtual Garden Show of their own. This involved sending in a limited number of photographs in a range of different categories. The results are shown below…yours truly did pretty well!

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll either leave this or rip it out and replace it because it is really too much.Pick a side, because the middle ground is disappearing. What’s true on the political front is equally true on the gardening front. Over the summer, I have watched gardeners in my region go all out for natives, ruthlessly getting…

It’s gardener vs. gardener season — GardenRant

HeyJude’s challenge ‘Look Up’ prompted me to share some pictures taken along the routes to Jubilee Tower and the story of how it came to be set on the moor above my home town of Darwen in Lancashire.

Darwen’s Jubilee Tower — Susan Rushton

Hardy perennial herbs can be planted at any time of the year, except when soil is frozen or waterlogged. When you get your herbs home after an Open Day or Farm Gate Collection water thoroughly and let the water drain. It is essential that new herbs do not run short of moisture around their roots…

Jekka’s 6 top steps to “Grow On” your herbs — Jekka’s – Jekka’s Blogs “All About Herbs”

sunflowers would shine their cheerful light through winter’s dark night

If Summer Could Go On Forever — leaf and twig

Plant Spotlight: Salvia involucrata ‘Hadspen’ Tender perennials are not for the faint-hearted. They require plenty of patience, some favourable weather conditions, and more than a little bit of attention in order to achieve their potential. But at this time of year, basking in the September sun, they more than justify the effort, and our new…

Plant Spotlight: Salvia involucrata ‘Hadspen’ — Winterbourne House and Garden

The Garden at the begining of Autumn   I’ve failed miserably at keeping my blog updated, millions of reasons but I’ve basically I’ve found it hard to be motivated. Recently I was recalled back to work full time, the new normal way of working is suiting me and I’m managing fine, and ultimately I’m delighted […]

The Garden at the begining of Autumn — The Cynical Gardener
Norfolk Green Care Network

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