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Gardening Advice Blog

Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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October in the Garden

by CountryLife Gardening | Oct 06, 2014

October Gardening Advice
We really have been blessed this year with warm weather, now we’re starting to see a drop in temperature and the days are getting shorter it is time to start preparing your garden for the upcoming winter months.

Flowers
  • Roses can be planted any time of the year but autumn is the traditional time, this allows them some time to get established before the cold of winter sets in. There are lots of varieties to choose from and most are still in flower so now is a good time to pick a colour you like.
  • Start planning your spring garden. Now is a good time to plant your spring bulbs such as Daffodils, Tulip and crocus, the earlier you plant the better, it will help them establish roots before winter closes in. They are best sown in groups of odd numbers and in irregular patterns to give a more natural look. Read Malachy’s list of bulbs to plant now for lots of colour over the coming months.
  • Cutting and pruning. Cut back and clean up any perennials which have died down to tidy the garden for winter. Roses can be pruned as they finish flowering. If you haven’t pruned hedges yet give them a gentle trim in the next week to tidy them but leave any hard pruning until spring.
Harvest pumpkins, apples, pears and nuts.

Fruit and Veg
  • Now is the traditional time to plant fruit trees and fruit bushes. It’s a great time of the year to do this as the ground is still warm after the summer months so the plants will get settled quickly in the ground. Plus it tends to rains more over the autumn months so less watering for you :).
  • Harvest pumpkins, apples, pears and nuts. They can be stored over the winter months layered in dry sand / paper. Do not store fallen fruit as they can rot quickly and cause others to rot as well. Remember to check your stored fruit every week and remove and rotting or soft pieces.
Around the Garden
  • Make sure and feed the birds. Peanuts are the most popular food for wild birds but you can also put fruit, porridge and soaked bread out to vary their diet and attract different species. Peanuts are not suitable for every breed of bird so feeding them with wild bird seed will ensure they are all happy and healthy for the winter through to spring. Don’t forget to provide water for the birds as well especially on frosty mornings. Why not try planting shrubs which grow berries to feed the birds naturally.
  • TOP TIP – If you have a vegetable garden place a bird table or feeders near it so the birds can also eat any slugs and bugs that come near you crops. The birds will benefit from the creepy crawlies and you won’t have to use any chemicals on your vegetables.
  • Don’t burn your leaves in Autumn as this contributes to pollution. Instead, add them to a composter/compost heap where they can biodegrade and enhance your soil for years to come. Remember to collect any fallen leaves from under the rose bushes to prevent them from carrying any diseases over to next year (these leaves should be disposed, do not add them to your compost heap.)
Make sure and feed the birds. Peanuts are the most popular food for wild
  • Move tender plants into the greenhouse and try avoid the temptation to cut back any of the ones you are planning to leave in the ground over winter. The dead foliage will help to insulate them in cold weather. Remember to bring in any houseplants that have been outside for the summer.
  • Tie in any climbers to prevent potential damage in the winter winds – remember to check all your current tree ties and plant supports to make sure they are still secure.
  • Mow lawns for the last time this year – remember to empty your tools of fuel before storing them away for the winter months. Avoid the build-up of leaves on your lawn and rake frequently to prevent browning of the grass and improve drainage.
Jean’s Bio
Hi my name is Jean, I am a horticulturist with CountryLife in the Ashford branch. I grew up on a farm where we always had a veg garden, so you could say that horticulture and agriculture is in the blood! I studied Landscape Horticulture in UCD and worked part-time in Fernhill Garden Centre, Athlone while I was in college. After graduating I worked in Landscape Architecture for three years before returning to the Garden Centre trade. I began in Keane’s Garden Centre, Kilcolgan, Co Galway and returned to Fernhill Garden Centre for three years before joining CountryLife.  Being a horticulturalist is a great job, you are surrounded by nature every day and there is always something to be done. Meeting customers and giving the advice is very rewarding especially when they report back positive results. I love growing my own fruit and veg and I’m always trying new varieties and ways of growing. The seasons are always changing and while the weather is challenging in Ireland, I believe we grow the best produce in the world.