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Gardener's Diary           October

Rosemary MartinGardener's Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin. 

An introduction from Rosemary...     


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..




Forty second edition - October 2004

Most places in the UK will probably have sorry looking gardens following the batterings and storms of the last two months! They will recover, but it would be prudent to check that all your boundary walls or fences are safe before the winter arrives. Check the trees too, for broken branches.

It's a great time of year for planning ahead; the supermarkets and garden centres are full of tempting packs of bulbs, all colour co-ordinated of course: packs of winter flowering pansies and my favourite wallflowers.  

It is time once more to batten down the hatches for another year, so I shall press on with your jobs for the month...

Happy gardening!


Autumn chores


It is time to cut back perennials that have finished flowering, and remove summer bedding plants. Take out any dead growth of shrubs and prune them lightly to make them look neat over winter. Finally, give the borders a good hoe, so they look well tended. You could apply a mulch if you make your own compost.


Amazon Books - The Lawn BiblePrepare your lawn for winter now with an autumn feed which will encourage a deeper longer root system, and harden off growth to help the grass withstand the colder weather. You will notice the lawn going a dark green fairly soon after application.


Sweep up piles of leaves from lawns and paths before they collect in a slippery heap and some unsuspecting soul goes flying.. (Remember that hedgehogs could be sheltering in piles of leaves and wood ready for November's bonfire..)


Check that tree ties on young trees are secure but not too tight..


Once you've cleared away the debris, your garden will probably look a bit bleak and colourless, so nip down to the garden centre (or supermarket) to buy some pots of winter plants, already planted up and in flower, to dot around the garden. Try window boxes too - plastic or wood, painted with Cuprinol Garden Shades, underplanted with all sorts of beautiful spring bulbs and topped off with trailing ivies, evergreen herbs and heathers. It's surprising how a bit of bright colour will cheer you in the winter months.

The Lawn Bible


Don't forget to put out food for the birds, either on a bird table or in feeders, and keep them topped up throughout the winter as they will come to rely on you feeding them,  especially in the really cold weather when supplies are short...

If you like birds, here is the website for you... 


Don't neglect the wildlife and fish in the garden pond. Make sure there is enough water, and any dead foliage is removed..  Remove the leaves that drop in the water too.


Finally when you've put your feet up at night, relaxing with a glass of wine in front of the blazing log fire, you can browse through the seed catalogues that have been delivered, and plan next year's summer display. My all time favourite seed company is Thompson and Morgan, who regularly send out beautiful comprehensive catalogues, take seed orders on-line and accept credit card payments. I try and grow something new from seed each year - this year it was ZinniasI remember these showy bedding plants from my childhood days and was delighted with the results. I am looking for a different variety to grow next year.



I sometimes get asked to recommend a website, and this is one of them, well three in one actually!  A young but thriving business that I can thoroughly recommend.. Some great ideas for Christmas presents perhaps..

Seems they are finally thinking about older gardeners, with this product...

Enviromower linkEnvirOmower; Cordless electric environmentally-friendly lawn mower...
No more arm-yanking cords or power leads. You'll never need petrol or oil again with the ENVIROMOWER; an environmentally friendly, cordless battery-powered lawn mower. FREE DELIVERY in the UK.

To find out more and buy one, go to

Some of your recent gardening queries

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming (Please tell me which country you live in - knowing the climate helps me solve your problem)

Laterlife is pleased to support the project below:-

Designed to stimulate the senses and provide a haven of peace, a place to chill-out and unwind from the stress of modern living. A garden designed specifically to be "Positive About Disabled People" and raise funds for people with Multiple Sclerosis.

Take a virtual trip around the garden, through different countries, its monthly photo galleries & artwork, explore and discover the plants, birds and wildlife, water features and wind-chimes, as we endeavour to describe the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch of the various areas. 

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Sensory Garden Project  


And 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...



Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming

Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary



Some websites of interest to gardeners:- 


Alan Titchmarsh MBE, TV gardener, writer, broadcaster and thoroughly nice person. Just a few choice words to describe him. See his website....



Thompson and Morgan logo Thompson and Morgan: 


A growing resource for gardeners worldwide. The site includes the international online seed catalogues, the young plants catalogue (UK only), the wholesale seeds catalogue, together with the award winning Germination Times and a host of other useful information.


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from Thrive Gardening 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. 







Good 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

RHS Garden Finder is ?12.99 from Dorling Kindersley




       Alan Titchmarsh - How to be a gardener    Amazon Book - The Healing Garden    Amazon Book - RHS Plant Finder 2001 -2002    Amazon Book - "Home Front" in the Garden  


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