Gardeners Month October.
October is the tenth month but in the roman calender it was the eighth from the roman Octo meaning the eighth month.
This was until Julius Caesar added January and February then making it the tenth month but the name continued.
The Anglo Saxons called the month Winterfylleth because at the full moon (fylleth) winter was supposed to start.
October weather brings a significant drop in temperature with frosts more frequent at night.
But on sunny days it can still bring warm afternoons before a clear, cloudless night can again bring a frosty start to the next morning.
On sunny days there is an increase in intensity of autumn leaf colour showing the reddish and bronze hues in deciduous trees which is one of the great displays this month.
If you are further north then snow showers can be a feature this month.
A few lines to sum up this month:
Just before the death of flowers and before they are buried in snow. There comes a festival season with nature all aglow.
October brings a richness of colour to the garden.
The cold frosty nights with sunny days to follow bring an intensity of autumn leave colour which is one of the great breath taking displays this month.
Many gardens are open to the public for this autumn show such as Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire.
There is still a harvest of fruits and berries to bring in.
Crab apples have a wonderful display of fruit at this time of year and the birds in the garden are fond of them too.
As frosts are frequent this month it is time to move tender plants you wish to keep over winter to replant next spring inside to a frost free greenhouse or if the plants are to large, wrapping and covering with straw or fleece for protection is recommended.
Some plants do well this time of year, taking cuttings as an extra insurance. it’s always a good idea to have a few more of the plants that you like.
Shorter days mean you have to get going that bit earlier to accomplish the jobs to do this month.
If you are winter digging over the veg plot, the frost tends to break up the big clumps and helps towards a nice good seed bed in the following spring.
You can start planting trees and shrubs this month as the soil will still be warm which helps encourage root activity giving them a good start next year.
Harvest any remaining fruit such as apples and pears.
It is easy to tell if they are ready and ripe if you carefully cup the fruit in your hand and with a gentle upward movement the fruit should part from the tree easily.
If not leave for a few more days and try again.
Before bringing any plants you wish to keep frost free into the greenhouse it is a good time to give it a thorough clean inc. both glass and benches which will give maximum light into the greenhouse over the winter and also get rid of any pests lurking in any corners.
There will be plenty of seed heads on plants if you wish to collect them and store for use in the following year such as acanthus and achillea.
Some of the more interesting seed heads can be brought in and dried and used as winter display indoors.
There are still plenty of plants giving a good show this month such as the pink heads of Nerine bowdenii, Physalis alkengi with the lovely red paper cases with the fruit inside.
Trees such as Rhus typhina the stags horn sumach and acer palmatum both with red autumn colour bring a show stopping display to the garden.
Amelanchier lamarckii is a small tree with spring and autumn interest showing the lovely yellow leaves at this time of year.
JOBS FOR THE MONTH
Rake up falling leaves and put onto the compost heap for leaf mould.
Tidy any debris that shows sign of disease.
Continue harvesting fruit such as apples and pears.
Take hardwood cuttings from shrubs and fruit bushes.
Trim conifer hedges a last time before winter.
Divide overgrown perennials.
Lift and store tender summer bulbs and tubers such as dahlia and gladioli.
Lay new lawns with turf for a quick result for next spring.
Tidy any falling leaves from the pond and lift and store any pond pumps to protect from frost.
Insulate the greenhouse and check any heaters are in good order.
Sow lawns with grass seed as a low cost alternative to turf.
Lift potatoes and carrots and store frost free.
These are some of the jobs to be getting on with this month.
Listen the wind is rising and the air is wild with leaves we have had our summer evenings now for October eves,