October, our first frost and our trees begin to change into the most beautiful autumn colours. Already, Ash trees, Horse Chestnut, Limes, Maples are all changing to gold, yellow and red tints. Plants with good autumn colour include: virginia creepers, vines, rhus sumach (the Stag’s Horn), Liquisambar, Enkianthus, Cornus Species etc. In the vegetable garden, you will be harvesting winter cabbage, leeks and parsnips. There is a variety of winter onion sets that can be sown now also. The fruit garden jobs are mainly dealing with pruning of gooseberries, red and white currants and blackcurrants. Blackcurrants fruit best on young wood so prune back very old hard wood, 2–3 year old stems. Gooseberries and red and white currants are pruned differently. You prune these back by shortening back all side shoots growing from the main branches to not more than 2 inches long. This then helps form fruiting spurs that you need.
The lawn is very near its last few cuts. Raise the height of cut at this time of year and get ready for putting away the lawn mower. Clean all dead grass off it and the base and empty what petrol is left out of it as it will turn to jelly and block up your carburettor.
All the window boxes and tubs are near an end. This was not the best year for them, as it was a year of all extremes, weather wise, and the bedding plants did not give as good a display as last year. At this time of year, you can add in a lot of colour for the winter. Bulbs of all types are available now and narcissi, mini daffodils, crocus, dwarf tulips, hyacinths, snowdrops all do well in tubs and add lots of colour.
Wallflowers of all types, dwarf, tall, mixed colours and single colours can also be planted now, ideal as a centrepiece for tubs. Winter pansies or universal pansies, different to summer flowering pansies as they flower all the year round and are not hit by frosts, give great colour. Forget-me-nots, sweet williams, aubriets, stocks and bachelors buttons are all available now for planting. These are mostly early spring flowering. Winter heathers can also be used in window boxes. For anyone wishing to change things in the garden, from here on to March is the time for lifting plants. Lift as much rootball as possible without damaging the plant.
That’s it for this month; just to say that Anne McKeown of Galway Bay FM gardening programme, will be in Glynn’s Garden Centre on Saturday the 19th and Sunday, 20th of this month giving talks and helping with general enquiries. Not to be missed.
Bosco McDermott Jr.,
Glynn’s Garden Centre.