This month we’ll be planting the tulip bulbs in tubs, in preparation for next season. The tender plants will continue to be put to bed, which is done by cutting them back and covering them to ward off the elements.
Now that we’ve had the first frost, the dahlia tubers can be lifted. Dahlias are always lifted once the foliage has been blackened by the first frost. We cut off the old flowering stems 5cm (2in) from the base and trim away any thin roots. These stems can then be composted. The hellebores will need some attention too before flowering, so this month we’ll be removing all their damaged and diseased foliage.
As the perennials continue to die back, we’ll carry on cutting them down. By autumn, many herbaceous perennials are running out of steam, with old foliage and flowers beginning to die back, which means it’s a good time to cut the old foliage back to the ground. The crown (the base of the plant) will remain dormant over winter and produce fresh shoots in the spring.
As the leaves merrily dance to the ground, we have a job on our hands this month to net all the ponds, to stop them falling in. And similarly, there’s a lot of work to be done clearing leaves across the garden – especially on the lawns. Any leaves that we have detected to be diseased will be burnt this much, such as rose leaves with blackspot, for example.
Elsewhere, it’s all about planting trees and shrubs across the garden, and cleaning the greenhouses out so that we can bring in any tender material for the winter. In that same vein, now’s the time to check all the greenhouse’s heating systems are working as they should, to make sure everything’s kept safe and warm inside.
What to look out for in the garden this month
Autumn leaf colour across the garden, in a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues
Nerine bowdenii (Bowden lily)
Berries galore, namely:
Callicarpa bodinieri (Bodinier's beautyberry)
Malus (apple tree)
Gaultheria mucronate (prickly heath)
Euonymus europeaeus (spindle tree)