autumn leavesOctober brings with it a drop in temperatures, night frosts and an increase of winds blowing the rich autumn-coloured leaves from trees.  This month the growing season comes to a close but there are still plenty of jobs to be done in and around the garden.  

Don’t worry about clearing every seed head or dying herb stems before winter sets in unless you want your garden to be super tidy, seed heads with frost or moisture from a misty start to the day can be very aesthetically pleasing as well as providing beneficial insects such as ladybirds and lacewings shelter to hibernate.  Leaving spent seed heads and stems also gives some plants an added layer of protection through the cold and frosty months.

 

If you have established perennials that have been untouched for a number of years it’s a good idea to divide them now as they become dormant, it will give them new vigour and they’ll put on a better show for you next year.  Geraniums and Japanese anemones are ideal to divide now, dig them up carefully and use two forks back to back to lever apart, do this a few times and then replant all the smaller plants not forgetting well-rotted compost or manure to help them along.

Sedums are great for dividing now – simply cut all the growth off, dig them up and then using your spade divide the root into sections and replant.  Remember to give them a good watering too!   Destroy all leaves off your Hosta plants as they very quickly turn mushy and diseased, if you don’t destroy them the spores will over-winter in your garden.   Don’t put them in your compost either; destroy them it’s the best way!

Leaves very soon will be everywhere so make the most of them, rake them up and store them either in a chicken wire container held in place using four stakes in the ground or in black bin bags.  If you opt for bin bags make sure that the leaves are damp and that you punch your garden fork into the bag a few times to create air holes.  Store them in a hidden corner in your garden and after a year the leaves will make a fantastic soil conditioner or mulch and after two years they make potting compost or top dressing for lawns after being sieved – all for free!