What’s happening in the garden in October?

It is hard to tell what to do about bringing plants in as the weather has been so amazing in the south. I brought two pots of African Blue basil in a few weeks ago, when the nights were drawing in and the temperatures falling at night, but with the tropical heat of the garden room, they are growing well

It is hard to tell what to do about bringing plants in as the weather has been so amazing in the south. I brought two pots of African Blue basil in a few weeks ago, when the nights were drawing in and the temperatures falling at night, but with the tropical heat of the garden room, they are growing well and flowering profusely. Nipping out the flower stems is a fragrant job, so that started the morning well.

Yesterday I was delighted with my first sighting of the humming bird moth, but I wasn’t quick enough to get my camera and take a photo, so go to the link to see this amazing, bird-like moth (www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Macroglossum_stellatarum). It hovers, just like a humming bird and looks so birdy and the fast-beating of its wings, make a humming sound. This one was feeding on the pink flowers of one of the best salvia’s for this time of year, Salvia involucrata ‘Bethellii’. It was a wonderful sight.

Salvia involucrata ‘Bethellii’ in flower in early October.

So what else am I doing?

Well, my small frog pond needs to be netted to stop leaves from neighbouring trees falling into it. And I will be raking and collecting leaves from the old apple tree and next-door’s birch and ash trees, as they start to fall. If you have a large garden and lots of leaves to rake, store them in a separate heap rather than in the compost, as they take a while to rot down.

The first birch leaves float on the surface, but the pond need netting to prevent a build-up of rotting leaves in the already not-so-pristine water!

I am clearing out the containers and pots that I grew tomatoes, peppers and sweetcorn in and getting them ready for the next season, when they will be holding my new tulip bulbs, which have not yet arrived.

As soon as there is a night frost I will cut back the dahlia stems and move the pots into one of my old sheds. I don’t have a heated greenhouse any longer, so I have decided to insulate one of the old sheds with bubble wrap and then to store the pots, also wrapped in bubble wrap, and hope for the best.

I am going to cut back some of the herbaceous plants but will leave those with good seedheads, as they are often additionally attractive.  I am going to  buy some wallflowers. If you are buying wallflowers bareroot, soak them in water for a few hours before planting. I am going to get them planted before the weather changes for the worse!

Photos and text Copyright Barbara Segall 2011.