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October garden

What to do in your garden in October

Well we are heading towards the end of the year, winter is on its way, and most of us will have spent far more time in our garden since March than we have in previous years!


As is always the case there are little jobs we can do to make our garden a little better – if we want and if weather permits. However, apart from a little tidying here and there nothing is really that urgent by October should you want to have a break from mowing, weeding, or pruning. 


Nevertheless a word of caution when it comes to tidying up. Removing leaf litter and other plant debris removes food for soil organisms (like worms) and removes places to hide for the micro-organisms to live over winter (and then eat your plant pests in the spring). Obviously removing fallen leaves that have rusts or leaf spots on them (particularly under roses) is important in controlling the spread of these in a fungicide-free garden, but others should be left. Desiring to see bare soil is a Victorian, gardenesque concept which should not have a place in the modern garden.


It is not just ecologically sound to be a little less tidy than tradition would appear to dictate. Piet Oudolf and before him Henk Gerritsen, have for years been trying to make us appreciate the beauty of the plant silhouettes that should remain in the winter garden. The frost touched, sculptural forms look amazing in certain lights, and the acceptance of the cycle of birth and death within the garden is something that we can all connect with.


Enjoy the last sunny days before the clocks go back.