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October gardening tips

PUBLISHED: 09:48 11 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:48 11 October 2016

Siberian Iris

Siberian Iris


Judy Shardlow’s horticultural advice for the month of October

October is a great time to review and reorganise the garden. The soil is still warm and higher rain levels mean this is a perfect time for digging up, dividing and replanting perennials. Dividing is an easy way to increase the amount of plants you have and help create new borders or plug gaps in existing ones. It also helps restore vigour to flowering plants and to reduce ones that have become too large.

Dividing couldn’t be easier and can be applied to most herbaceous garden plants like Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle), geraniums, Siberian irises, heleniums (sneezeweed) and salvias (sage). The best way to do it is to dig out the entire plant - top-growth and rootball - then place it on a tarpaulin on the grass and use a spade or pruning saw to divide the root ball in half or quarters, a bit like cutting a cake. One of the quarters can then be returned to its original space and the remaining sections planted in new locations. All newly planted divisions will need watering to help them establish and if well planted in soil with added organic matter, such as farmyard manure they’ll grow well.

Five things to do in the garden this month:

Create pretty winter pots

Pots and containers will look great all winter with cyclamen, plum-coloured Heucheras and variegated ivy.

Plant a clematis

Plant beautiful climber clematis ‘Early Sensation’ in sun or partial shade for creamy green flowers in April.

Switch to winter salads

Thompson and Morgan hardy salad seed pack ‘Frilly Mixed’ is a tasty mizuna, mustard, rocket, Greek cress and garden cress combination for salads throughout the winter.

Plan for spring

Plant erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’ plug plants with lily flowered tulip bulb ‘Burgundy’ for a spectacular spring display.

Cut back & protect

Hardy banana, cannas and dahlias can be cut back to the base at the end of October and covered with a layer of bark or straw to see them through the winter.

Judy Shardlow is an RHS award-winning garden designer and coach.

01438 833858


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