October is the month when everything starts to change and die back in the garden. This however, is by no means the end of the gardening season.
There are lots of plants that are just about to come into their own, particularly trees. One of the stars of October has to be the Acer. As the temperatures start to plummet their leaves turn from purple and green to vibrant orange, red, yellow and shades of copper. Some of the more vibrant varieties are Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ which turns a bright scarlet orange and Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Viridis’, it has great, lime green, foliage in the summer followed by a super display in the autumn with its leaves turning bright orange, gold and red.
There are so many gardens to visit around the Four Shires that display superb autumn colour this month. The arboretums at Batsford and Westonbirt are two of the very best in the UK
Asters are another one of those plants that sits in the border looking green and inconspicuous – then in a ‘blink of an eye’ they burst into colour and become the star of the show. One such is Aster ‘Pink Cloud’
This is a lovely bushy 3ft tall variety that will remain mildew free as long as the plant is kept moist through the growing season.
Now that the temperatures are dropping you will need to turn your attention to any tender plants you have. If they are in pots bring them inside where they can be kept frost free. If you are not able to bring them indoors cover them up with fleece whenever frost is forecast.
The leaves are beginning to fall now so you will need to keep sweeping up particularly on your lawn.
All these leaves are a great addition to the compost heap or 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 lots of tidying up to do. Keep removing all the yellow leaves from your brassicas to stop them rotting on the floor.
Now is a great time to sow some green manure on any bare patches of soil in your vegetable garden. These will protect the soil over winter and when you dig them into the ground in the spring they will add lots of nutrients to the soil.
Field beans are a good variety to sow as these will add lots of nitrogen to your soil and also help to break it up. But the best 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.