🌿 Rose-coloured Glasses
It is during October when your roses should be putting on a marvellous display! It is wonderful to decorate your home with roses that have been picked from your own garden, however, remember not to pick more than 50% of the roses off any particular rose plant as this will seriously set the plant back. Don’t worry too much about aphids – they are not harmful to your roses and provide great food for ladybirds and birds alike. Water your roses at least twice a week in the warm weather.
Enjoy the last flowers of clivias. If they need to be lifted and divided, do it after the flowering phase at the end of the month.
🌿 Seeds & Plant Seedlings
To ensure that your summer garden is full of flowers and bursts of colour – now is the time to sow seeds and plant seedlings. Easy flowers to grow from seeds include alyssum, asters, celosia, cosmos, lobelia marigolds, nasturtiums, zinnias and sunflowers. Summer seedlings to plant now include impatiens, begonias, bedding dahlias, dianthus, gazanias, petunias, salvias and verbena. Also, to keep your summer-flowering shrubs such as hydrangeas, hibiscus and fuchsias in good form, it is a good time to fertilise them now with 3:1:5 of 5:1:5 fertiliser. Be sure to prune back any spring-flowering shrubs that have faded, and you can also fertilise these, such as camellias and azaleas, with 5:1:5 to keep them looking at their best.
🌿 Aquilegia, Campanula & Delphinium
Buy tall annuals like aquilegia, campanula, delphinium and digitalis in colour bags to fill up bare spots in mixed beds. Border flower beds spectacularly with Carex hachijoensis ‘Evergold’ a clump-forming ornamental grass with narrow yellow and white, green-edged leaves.
🌿 Petunia Hot Tip
Petunias are insanely popular as a summer bedding plants, but can it be planted in the same place every season? The answer is no! It is better to rotate certain annuals to prevent the build-up of dominating pests or soil pathogens.
🌿 Lawn care
If you need a new lawn, sod it with instant lawn sods, but do not take short cuts with soil preparation. Dig the area over to remove all weeds and stones. Add copious amounts of compost and bone meal and rake smooth and level. Water the soil lightly before laying the sods tightly together, filling any cracks with fine compost or commercial lawn dressing.
If you had laid down lawn dressing during the early spring months, your lawn should be looking green and lush by the time October arrives. To cater for the warmer weather, let your lawn grow a little longer, as the length will help shade the roots and this will reduce the amount of water it will require. If the new growth has a yellow tinge, then fertilise it with some 5:1:5 and water well after fertilising.
🌿 Delicious Summer Veggies
This is the time to sow seeds of summer vegetables into prepared beds, such as carrots, beetroots, beans, pumpkin, marrows, cucumbers, rocket and radishes for example. For tomatoes, eggplant, chillies, green peppers and lettuce – it is easier to sow the seeds into seed trays and wait until they germinate before you plant them into the beds, or even simpler, buy already grown seedlings from your nursery. Putting a thin layer of straw over the sown seeds will help prevent the beds from drying out in the warm weather.
Try out different chilli varieties – always fun to grow! Plant all the mints for cooling summer cordials. As mints are invasive, rather plant them in pots. You can sink them pot and all, into the soil as the mint will not mind being kept prisoner. This is a good time to plant annual herbs such as, sweet basil, coriander, dill and oregano. You can also plant herbs that your pets will love, such as dog grass, catnip and borage. To keep the herbs growing well, pick them regularly and feed them twice a month with a liquid fertiliser at half the strength.
🌿 Garden Pests
Continue spraying and baiting against fruit fly and codling moth. Put out snail bait amongst strawberry plants and provide a mulch of straw, course clippings or weed matting to keep the fruit off the soil. Picking the fruit frequently to encourage more.
Watch out for insects such as white fly, aphids and mealybugs on soft new growth and control with the correct insecticide for example Margaret Robert’s organic insecticide. Inspect all members of the Lily family such as agapanthus, crinum, clivia, nerine, amaryllis and haemanthus. For lily borer a caterpillar with yellow and black bands around the body. They are most active at night and can be treated with a contact insecticide.
🌿 Repotting Ferns
Repot ferns into fresh potting soil and start feeding them every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer mixed at half strength. Place house plants like orchids or ferns that love humidity on pot trays filled with gravel and a little water. Don’t let the base of the pot stand in water or the plants will rot.