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Gardener's Diary           October


Amazon book - Colour in Your Garden







Gardener'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..





Fifty third edition - October 2005   

Autumn leaves




Click on the thumbnail image for a larger view


Autumn was once my least favourite season, with its longer nights and the prospect of months of cold dark days. But since I have had my new digital camera I have learnt to appreciate all the seasons because I believe I see things now whereas before I just looked.. For example this morning whilst taking the dogs for their walk in the nearby forest, I saw the first of the many colourful fungi growing there and was reminded of a couple of photos I took last year of the same fungi and leaves falling off the chestnut trees. I`ve put them here.

Fungi 'Fly Agaric' in the forest




Click on the thumbnail image for a larger view



Jobs for the month - October


A season of falling leaves and weakening sun, when shrubs and trees take on a new look. A time for preparing for the long winter.. Why not plant up some winter hanging baskets or tubs, which are becoming more popular than ever. There is an enormous variety of evergreen planting to be found in garden centres, (some with berries) that will make a wonderful winter display.



Amazon book - Book of houseplantsHouseplants


I think winter houseplants are very precious, because often it is the only bit of colour we have for several weeks.. I love the flashy cyclamens, azaleas, amaryllis and my very favourite indoor hyacinths which I endeavour to get into flower for the Christmas period. Don`t neglect your regular houseplants though and make sure they are not waterlogged, in a draught or too near a radiator. Give them as much natural daylight as you can too.






Lift half-hardy summer flowering bulbs, clean and store them. If you have gladioli corms, lift them and allow the foliage to die down naturally, then clean them, discarding the old corm, keeping the new one for next year. The tiny bulblets can be planted next year too, but won`t flower until the following year at the earliest






You can still apply an autumn weed and feed this month. It is a good time to sort out the bumps and hollows by removing the section of turf with a sharp spade and either adding or removing soil as necessary, finally replacing the turf and thumping it firmly back down with a spade.. Just a light trim for the grass from now on..



Amazon book - Conservatory and greenhouse gardeningGreenhouse


If the weather holds, you might still be lucky enough to have late tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in the greenhouse to accompany the delicate plants and cuttings you are storing overwinter.








Ponds and water features


Clear your pond of any decaying vegetation and cover the pool with netting to prevent falling leaves from going into the water. Reduce the quantity of fish food you give your pond fish. You will see that as the weather cools and the days shorten they will want to feed less and less. By the end of October they will have stopped feeding altogether for the duration of the winter. Depending on the weather, water features can be left going until the end of October.


* I read of yet another child drowning yesterday (25th September) and would advise people to always get pond covers fitted to make their ponds safe. After all a neighbour`s child could always stray into your garden even if you don`t have young children of your own, or as visitors... is a company I can recommend, for nationwide coverage, an excellent product and service..





From now until the spring months make sure you always have a constant supply of bird food available to attract a wide variety of birds to your garden. They will also come to rely on you for food so do keep them topped up in all weather.. Take care not to damage hedgehogs that might be hiding in piles of leaves.



Paths, walls and fences.


You do know of course, (because I tell you every year) that you must be careful to sweep up leaves in case of accident. Check fences are secure against the strong winds we usually get at this time of year. Check your garden walls have not become cracked and dangerous during the summer months.. Get in a supply of rock salt to put on your paths if they get icy.



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:-


Some of your recent gardening queries

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming Please tell me which country you live in as knowing the climate can help me solve your problem. Your current email address is necessary as my replies are occasionally returned to me as undeliverable..


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...



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:-


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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