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October is a glorious month, Autumn’s bounties are here for all to see and enjoy; fantastic colours as the
leaves begin to fall, feasting on home grown produce, maybe days spent in the sun and nights by the fire.
For us gardeners October is a busy month so read on…

Top Tip: We don’t really need to repeat this but do keep deadheading it really does keep the flowers coming.

Top Tip: It’s always a bit of a dilemma: should I keep my pots going while they still look good or should I
plant them up ready for the winter/spring?

On balance it’s probably best to bite the bullet and rip out the bedding and plant up your winter pots; we
have a great selection of bedding at this time of year and also while the weather is still mild the plants will
have time to put a bit of growth on.

Use bedding plants such as viola, cyclamen, pansies and wallflowers, plus spring-flowering bulbs. Keep
your pots in a sheltered spot, such as under a porch, to encourage blooms through the winter and to avoid
 plants rotting off in the winter wet. Cyclamen and ornamental cabbage are particularly vulnerable to rotting
 in damp conditions. You won't get masses of blooms during colder weather, but any milder spells should
 see a good show.

Top Tip:  Cut back perennials that have died down, remove and compost bedding plants that have past
 their best. Although we’ve just told you to cut down your perennials down feel free to ignore this if you like
 their seed heads or just want to keep a few beautiful stems that look stunning when frosted.

Top Tip: Remove leaves from beds, use these leaves to make leaf mould. All you have to do is put the
leaves in a black bin liner and leave them to rot down – easy peasey!

Top Tip:  Cut down Buddleia, Lavatera   and other quick growing shrubs by one third to reduce wind
damage. Also cut roses back by one third to prevent wind rock damage. The main prune will be
in early spring.

Top Tip:  If all this talk of clearing leaves makes you want to stay clear of your garden, don’t despair, get
 a leaf blower; most leaf blowers can also vacuum up leaves as well. We have several blowers in stock
 from approx. £50. You can also use them to blow away snow (if we ever get any again)

Top Tip:  It’s worth lifting begonia tubers to protect them from the cold weather but in a sheltered London
 garden it’s worth risking leaving the gladioli bulbs and Dahlia  tubers in situ as they are a little bit more
hardy, cover them with a few inches of mulch for some extra insulation.

Toppest Tip:   If you are a fan of bulbs, as we all are at Sunshine, October is the month to choose and
 plant your spring flowering bulbs. We have a whole room dedicated to bulbs that is carefully tended by
Fiona (it won best bulb area display in the UK last year!), do come in and have a chat with her, she really
knows her onions (and daffodils and tulips). Try to plant your bulbs soon as they can start establishing
a root system and will reward you with a stunning display in the spring. When planting a rule of thumb
is to plant 2-3 times their own depth e.g. a bulb 2” high should be planted 4-6” deep.


Top Tip: Plant drifts of spring bulbs informally in your lawn , using crocus, daffodils & snake’s head fritillaries. 

Top Tip: Transplant deciduous shrubs if you’re not happy with their position, waiting first for the leaves to fall.

Top Tip: Don’t forget to turn you compost, this will allow air into the compost and speed up the rotting process. We have a great device for turning compost that looks like a giant cork screw; the Burgon and Ball compost aerator. (£19.99)

Top Tip: Don’t go on a bear hunt, go on a snail hunt on a damp evening to reduce your snail population!


Top Tip:  it’s probably time for the last cut of the season so raise the mower a couple of notches and give it the last cut.

Top Tip:  Give the lawn a feed with Autumn Lawn food 2 in 1 which will prepare the lawn for the winter and kill any moss that maybe present.

Top Tip:  Try not to leave any leaves on the lawn as they can reduce the light falling on the lawn can cause it to go yellow. The easy way to pick them up is to run over the fallen leaves with the lawn mower which will also shred them ready for composting.

Top Tip: Aerate compacted soil – especially clay soil – with a garden fork or a hollow-tine aerator or shoes that have spikes on them; keep fit whilst aerating the lawn. It’s best to aerate when the soils is damp –it’s much easier. 

Top Tip: Repair bare patches with Patch Magic, it guaranteed to work, simply sprinkle on and water, grass will begin to grow within 10 days.

Grow Your Own

Top Tip: Take cuttings of shrubby herbs such as rosemary and thyme to increase your stock.

Top Tip:  Plant garlic and onion sets now ready to harvest next summer.

Top Tip: Sow aquadulce broad beans for harvest next year.

Top Tip:  Harvest the last of the year’s fruit and veg, leave squashes and pumpkins though to harden off so that they store well.

Top Tip:  Clear tomato, cucumber, chilli and pepper plants.

Top Tip:  Sow winter salads such as lettuce, Pak choi etc.

Top Tip: Remove large fruits on fig trees that have failed to ripen leaving pea sized fruits to ripen for next year.

Hot News: Elephant garlic is now in. Try it, it’s big but it’s mild.