In the Garden October

What to do in the garden this month with David Williams

The days are getting shorter and the garden is beginning to change. But just because the garden is starting to die back it does not mean it is the end of the gardening year.

One of the stars of October has to be the Acer. As the temperatures start to plummet there leaves turn from purple and greens to vibrant oranges, reds, yellows and shades of copper. Some of the best varieties are Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’, which turns a bright scarlet orange and Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Viridis’, which has great lime green foliage in the summer followed by the bright orange, gold and red in the autumn.

Stepping away from the Acer, there are many other great trees with fantastic autumn colour. One of my favourites is Parrotia persica, unfortunately it is best for a large garden. It can grow up to 8m wide! If you have the space however, you will be rewarded by vivid yellow, red and purple autumn colour. This will be followed by bright red flowers in winter.

No sooner have the leaves changed colour, will they start to drop from their branches. Don’t forget they are a great addition to the compost heap. Equally, if you have lots of them you could make a separate pile and make your own leaf mold.

In the vegetable garden there will be plenty of tidying up to do. Remember to keep removing all the yellow leaves from your brassicas to stop them rotting on the floor. Now is also a great time to sow some green manures on any bare patches of soil. These will protect the soil over winter and when you dig them into the ground in the spring, will add lots of nutrients to the soil. Field beans are a good one to sow for this as they will add lots of nitrogen to your soil, which in turn will help break up heavy soils. But the best one has to be mustard, particularly if you have suffered with pest problems such as wire worm. Mustard is a natural bio-fumigant that releases gasses from its roots that help kill off any pests and diseases that may be present.

Garden Book Of The Month

The Royal Horticultural Society’s Companion to Wildlife Gardening by Chris Baines

If you love encouraging wildlife into your garden then this is the book to read. Published by Frances Lincoln in hard back it is a big book stuffed full of great photographs to help give you lots of inspiration. This book covers everything you need to know to make the perfect garden for wildlife. From planning the wildlife you wish to attract through to plant selection and propagation. I have learnt so much about wildlife gardening from this book that I never knew. No longer can you call that corner of the garden you never touch a wildlife garden there is so much more work than just walking away and leaving it to do its own thing.

ISBN 9780711237919, Available from all good book shops