October in the Garden

By Glyn Smith Head Gardener at Erdigg Hall National Trust Garden.

October at Erddig is an extremely busy time. Our Apple Festival and fruit sales take a lot of time to prepare and stage. The summer bedding scheme in front of the hall will need changing over for our spring display, the pansies are already pricked out and growing on in our green houses.

Any lawn maintenance needs to be carried out before the grass stops growing and we still have the rest of the garden to keep tidy and present to visitors.

Tips for the month.

Although generally it has been a poor year for fruit, we need to harvest any apples and pears before the frosts come. Store the best in a frost free and vermin proof place. Check frequently for any rotting fruits. Before frost kills them, lift, pot up, or store tender plants you want to keep. Like Dahlias, Fuchsias, Gladioli and Begonias. Scarify and feed lawns with an autumn lawn fertiliser. It is still not too late to sow grass seed, if you are repairing worn out patches. Choose and plant prepared, or indoor bulbs, such as Hyacinths and Paperwhite Narcissi. Place them somewhere cool and dark to develop slowly. Bring them into a warmer atmosphere about three to four weeks prior to when you want them to flower.

Plant spring bedding plants and bulbs. Just a tub or pot on the Patio, or by the door creates a bright spot of colour in the springtime. Keep clearing leaves as soon as they build up. I like to see a scattering of leaves across a lawn, but drifts of leaves shut out light to grass and plants. All leaves, except larger evergreen ones, will compost. Leaves form about 70% of our compost.

Cut back Asparagus and artichoke top growth. Harvest any remaining Tomatoes, they will continue to ripen in a cool place. Add a banana to the bowl to speed up the process. It will give off ethylene gas. Or make green tomato chutney.