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Gardener's Diary 

                              October 2009


rosehipsI quite like autumn, it's usually such a colourful season, and this year there is an abundance of berries on the trees and shrubs, due to the warm spring we had.

Picking blackberries from the hedgerows has always been a joy, but this year we went a step further and picked rosehips which made about 4 pints of rosehip syrup - it's beautiful! If frozen in ice cube trays it makes a healthy drink that will last through the winter. You can still make rosehip syrup in October if the birds have left any rosehips on the bushes! We found the large rosehips (see photo above) much better for ease of use and nicer tasting than the smaller rose hips...

Is your garden boring and cheerless in the winter? I've put together some ideas for making it more colourful .






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..

Jobs for the month - October

 House plants

Houseplants that have spent the summer outside should be brought back indoors, before any early frosts kill them. Reduce watering to a minimum this month. Check all houseplants for any pests and diseases and treat accordingly, referring to your gardening books.


There is still time to give your lawn it's autumn 'weed and feed' and a good raking.. Follow instructions regarding the composting of treated clippings. Try not to walk on worm casts, instead wait for a dry day when you can brush them with a stiff yard brush to disperse them. Don't try to discourage worms, they are the good guys..

Herbaceous borders

Continue dead-heading, weeding and hoeing, to keep the borders looking neat. The mild weather has ensured a stunning late display of Chrysanthemums and Dahlias so the garden is still a blaze of colour.


Put a wire mesh lid over the pond to keep the falling leaves from adding to the rotting plants and producing gases that can harm the fish. This is a good month for building an extension to an existing pond, or creating a new one. It can then have a chance to overwinter and be ready for occupation next spring. 


Dozy hedgehogs can be encouraged to spend the winter in your garden if you provide shelter in a container for hibernation. Squirrels hibernate on and off, sleeping for long periods, but waking when refreshed. Rabbits, foxes and moles don`t hibernate at all, but forage what they can during the winter months. Foxes are now becoming an every day sight as are the gulls which used to be just seaside birds. Keep bird feeders topped up and provide water for the birds.


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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.



RHS 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:-

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 special seasonal offers


Some places to 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

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