Local community site for Broadstone, Dorset, since 1999

Gardening Tips for October

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Well, for once we have had some good summer weather but autumn is now on it’s way. Make sure that you clear leaves regularly. If you shred them or run a mower over them they will rot down better. Now is the last chance to trim deciduous hedges. Too twiggy to compost but if you have a shredder they will make a good mulch to keep weeds down. Climbing roses can be pruned now and if bush roses are tall, cut them back by half to stop them rocking in high winds. The same applies to shrubs like Buddleia but save main pruning till spring. I am often asked why shrubs haven’t flowered. The reason is often due to pruning at the wrong time. By tidying everything back at the end of the year you may be cutting off next year’s growth. The general rule is that spring flowering shrubs( before June) should be pruned after flowering but later ones should be left until the following spring. If in doubt, check in a good book or on the RHS website. Herbaceous perennials can be cut back and if too big, divide them. Get rid of the woody centre and replant with some fresh compost.

Because it has been very dry, Camellias, Azaleas and Rhododendrons will benefit from a good soaking to stop them losing buds before spring. A feed of ericaceous fertiliser is also a good idea.

If you have had houseplants outside over the summer it is time to move them indoors before we get caught out by frost. Reduce watering on houseplants now. If you want Hyacinths growing indoors there is still time to plant them. You need to buy prepared bulbs for forcing. They need to be kept cool and in the dark for a few weeks. They can be put outside where there is no sun or alternatively put in a black bag in a shed. Check regularly and keep just moist. When the buds start to show, they can be moved indoors. Make sure they are all the same variety in each pot, as different varieties flower at different times. The same applies to Paper White daffodils. Get all your bulbs in . Try layering them in a tub to give a long display and then top them off with bedding.

If you have a greenhouse it is time to get the shading off and if you want to store tender plants over winter it is a good idea to insulate it with sheets of bubble plastic. The larger bubble type is best and you can find special fixings for this job. Check your heater and make sure that everything is clean.

If you have large clumps of Rhubarb, divide them now or next month. It used to be recommended that they were left on the ground to get frosted before replanting, but since we don’t seem to get many frosts these days, they can be divided and replanted.

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About Author

Denise, from the Broadstone Horticultural Society, writes a regular column on gardening tips throughout the year. She works regularly with a small group of volunteers maintaining the flower beds on the Broadway and planting seasonal flowers and plants.

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