Peter’s gardening tips for October


Autumn has arrived and the weather is changing and becoming cooler, wet and unstable.

October is the month when our gardens change drastically, both in color and in the type of work to be carried out. Mushrooms appear daily, leaves begin to change color and fall, and wildlife prepare for the new season by collecting what they need for the cold months ahead.

There is always work to be done in the garden, whatever the time of year.

Work to do this month:

  • Make room in the compost bins for all the leaves to come! It’s free garden compost – I know it’s a pain, but it really helps your plants. Use a rotary mower to vacuum
  • Dig above vegetable beds or rotate before heavy rains arrive.
  • Buy garlic, fall onions/shallots for planting.
  • Buy spring-flowering bulbs – daffodils, crocuses, tulips, etc.
  • Plant winter flowering plants such as winter flowering heather, foliage plants for containers with pansies, violas, primroses and polyanthus and bulbs below.
  • Trim the hedges.
  • Treat lawns – scarify and aerate. Treat for moss.
  • Bring tender plants to the porch or house – lemons, bananas, orchids and non-hardy plants such as geraniums, fuchsias, lantanas, cannas……
  • Harvest apples and pears
  • Finish pruning fruit trees and trellised wisteria.
  • Shed roof repair.
  • Pressure wash patio/deck and treat with algaecide.
  • Make a list of successes and failures in the vegetable patch and garden!

How to Store Popular Vegetable Seeds

spring color

Ordering planted fall bulbs well in advance is key to getting the best varieties and will provide the best discounts. Take a look at bulbs DutchGrown is run by two brothers, Ben and Pete, who are the 4th generation of their family to sell flower bulbs and their business is located in the heart of Holland’s flower bulb district. They have kindly donated some bulbs to the Silversurfers team and as you can see from the photos they are absolutely stunning!

Cultivated Dutch tulips

Fall is the best time to plant spring bulbs, giving them the winter months to root themselves in preparation for a spectacular display next spring.


Scarify and aerate the lawn and lay down anti-moss autumn fertilizer which will be watered later with the help of the rain!

The same goes for grass seedlings. It will germinate as long as the soil is above 5°C.


If you haven’t already tidied up and cleaned. Wash glass down for maximum light levels. Insulate with bubble wrap or polycarbonate sheets. Bring all the tender plants and some herbs to stock up on for the next few weeks.

Planting time, digging up, splitting and dividing plants

Unless your soil is really clayey, damp and soggy, now is the best time to plant new trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Large clumps of perennials can be lifted and divided. Remove any non-bearing vegetables and dig up the soil, leaving coarse chunks for the frost to break down. Raised beds can be mulched and let worms attract goodness.




Hedgehogs will now seek winter shelter

If you have a compost pile, you’re already halfway there to help hedgehogs, because these hibernating mammals love them. So be sure to turn the compost slowly and carefully during the winter months so you don’t disturb your prickly friends, advises Helen Bostock, Senior Horticulture Adviser RHS and co-author of How Can I Help Hedgehogs? Also, don’t block crawl spaces under gazebos and decks, as hedgehogs happily hibernate underneath as well.

If you accidentally disturb a hibernating hedgehog, cover it as quickly as possible, leave a saucer of wet cat food and a saucer of shallow water nearby in case it needs to replenish its supply, and largely avoid its environment.

It’s not uncommon for hedgehogs to wake up and move hibernation sites once or twice during the winter, so don’t worry if it moves, but try to leave some natural shelter like piles of leaves. in the garden or you can buy a hedgehog house.

The first herds of redwings and fieldfares arrive to feed on another bumper year of hollyberries, cotoneasters, hawthorns and crabapples. Still, a few butterflies, bees, wasps, and bumblebees feed on ivy flowers and anything in bloom.

Happy gardening!

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Peter has spent his life gardening, working in garden centers and advising on all aspects of gardening, wildlife and biodiversity in horticulture. He ran the Clandon Park Garden Center in Surrey at the age of 23 and was a radio presenter on gardening at the BBC. This continued for 15 years, showing live broadcasts of flower shows from Chelsea and Hampton Court, shows from the South of England and County Surrey. Now self-employed, Peter works on a wide variety of gardens, from private individuals to large estates, and also focuses on advising and advising his fellow gardeners. He works with the RHS Gardening Advice team at Chelsea, Hampton Court, Wisley Flower Shows and is an external RHS gardening adviser.


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