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Gardener's Diary 

                            October   2007


Seventy eighth edition -  October 2007   


RHS Plant Finder 2007-2008 (Rhs)

October can be a wonderful month, with the colourful tones of red, yellow and orange autumn leaves as they drop, and cooler invigorating days. Not forgetting stunning sunrises and sunsets.  

I love our garden in the autumn and winter with its evergreen shrubs, brightly coloured berries and colourful dogwood bark.

It is a very busy time in the garden this month, tidying up for the autumn and planting winter bedding plants... There are some superb bulbs now in the garden centres and this is the time to plant them. Tulips can be left until December at the latest.. 

For winter cheer, make up some hanging baskets with winter flowering plants, bulbs and trailing ivies, which will brighten the front of your house over the next few months..

I bought a jar of honey with honeycomb last month from our nearby farm shop, and was surprised to see from the label that it comes from about a mile away from our home... It is especially nice somehow, and I have heard that if you eat honey from local bees it will help ease any pollen allergies you may have..  Fancy becoming a beekeeper?


Jobs for the month  - October


An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training..  I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime  ...  

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from..  

Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..

House plants

Reduce watering again this month. Don't apply any plant feed now, until the spring. Ensure your houseplants haven't got any pests such as mealy bug and check that the chosen places to over winter them are not draughty or too near a radiator. It might help to increase humidity by putting dishes of water in the heated rooms.


If it needs cutting you can still mow your lawn lightly. This is still a good month for applying Weed and Feed. Sweep leaves off the lawn rather than leaving them over winter, which isn't good for the grass.

Herbaceous borders

Continue as for last month, dead-heading, weeding and hoeing to keep the borders looking neat.  October is a good month for moving plants and shrubs that you might have previously planted in the wrong spot.. Cut down perennial plants that have finished flowering. Plant Wallflowers, Sweet William, Cyclamen, Dianthus and winter flowering Pansies, for winter greenery and spring colour.


This is the month when it is possible to have an early frost, so keep a weather eye open and enjoy the last harvest of your summer crops by harvesting them in time. It's probably a good time to do some tidying up and late digging. Add a top dressing of compost or manure to prepare the beds for spring. You could sow a winter crop of Broad Beans and winter Lettuce ready for late spring harvesting. Transplant your Spring Cabbage to harvest early May. It's also time to plant some Onion Sets and Garlic to harvest June/July next year. Continue to harvest Beans, Beetroot, Carrots, Calabrese, Turnips and  Sweetcorn.


Ponds and Lakes (Usborne Spotter's Guide)

Stop feeding fish if the weather is very cold and they have slowed down. Cover your pond with mesh or netting to stop leaves falling into the pond..


Mammals such as bats and rodents will soon be preparing for hibernation. Some species such as the badger which do not hibernate will be fattening themselves up for the lean months ahead. Around mid-October toads go into hibernation, finding logs or stones to hide beneath until Spring arrives once more. Frogs also hibernate at this time, at the bottom of ponds or some other sheltered place, ready to emerge again in the following January

Happy gardening till next month....


Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



The Yellow Book: NGS Gardens Open for CharityRHS gardens

Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-


RHS Flower Shows 2007


Tickets for RHS members

Privilege rate tickets are available for RHS members to all RHS shows, but tickets must be booked in advance. Click on the individual show links below for further information.
RHS members are not charged a booking fee for tickets purchased except for advanced tickets to the Malvern shows. To find out how to become an RHS member click here


Do you take advantage of the BBC Gardening website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new and any special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



Visit the Eden Project




The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...



Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 



Useful reading:-

"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

Amazon book - A year at Kew  Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden Amazon book - RHS Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS) Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)
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