October brings a wonderful richness of colour to the garden
And the clear sunny days and night frosts that we often get at this time of year lead to the intensity of colour in the leaves and shrubs. If you get some time out of the garden this month, try and visit an arboretum such as Westonbirt in Gloucestershire to enjoy the dazzling display of colour. And don’t forget to enjoy the harvest from your garden. Homegrown apples and pears can be gathered and stored for enjoying in the winter months ahead.
Make leaf mould
If leaves are left in a thick layer on the lawn they will kill off the grass and fallen leaves left lying around plants can encourage slugs and snails. If you have a large garden with lots of leaves to deal with, make a container with four stakes and chicken wire in a corner somewhere to contain the leaves. If you have limited space, rake the leaves into plastic bags – left over compost bags are ideal. Punch holes in the bags and leave in an out-of-the-way space to rot down. In eighteen months or so you will be rewarded with good friable leaf mould, which makes excellent mulch, for free.
Prepare the ground for bare-root planting
If you want long-lasting plants it’s worth preparing the ground well. If you are planning a border of shrubs and trees, dig over the entire area. It may seem a lot of work but will be worth it in the long term. Remove all the roots of perennial weeds (these are the ones that reappear each year); if you leave even a tiny portion of root behind the little blighters grow again. Dig in plenty of organic matter; this could be well-rotted manure or compost.