Gosh, hasn’t the summer passed quickly? Of course, the days are shortening, but everything is still going strong.

I tend to leave most herbaceous plants to get on with it until they become a bit untidy. Many plants left that bit longer can and will develop some lovely autumnal colours on the foliage. Just keep deadheading, which will, in turn, in most instances, result in longer flowering.

October is about cutting back also, and even when some plants are still looking well, we have to cut back. For example, I always find that many summer bedding plants are looking their best in mid-October. Still, we have to lift them to replace them with bedding such as Pansies, Violas, Polyanthus, Sweet Williams, etc.

Now too, is the time to be thinking of Spring flowering Bulbs. There are so many to choose from, many varieties, many colour variations, and many with differing heights and flowering times.

If planned and planted correctly, you can have various bulbs flowering from late January well into June. These range through Snowdrops, Aconites and Crocuses in January/February, followed by dwarf Tulips, Daffodils, and Irises through February/into March (there are lots of others too). Then the Fritillarias come into play as well as Daffodils, Narcissi, early Tulips and Hyacinths.  Taking us into April through to May with a wide selection of fantastic Tulips lasting into June joining up with Alliums and Camissias, then finishing off with some Lilies taking into summer again. 

October is also the perfect time to plan any thinning and moving of plants and small shrubs. The best time to do the work is from November through to January. This is because most plants and shrubs will be dormant and will not suffer from the move. However, some plants and shrubs get too big and can choke and kill other plants. Check your borders and see if any plants are suffering from the bigger boys and plan to sort it out, as above.

As I look out into the garden just now, the range of colours is vast. The berries on the Honeysuckle are a brilliant scarlet red. The Arum Italicum rods are full of orange berries. One variety of the Pineapple Lilies (Eucomis) are pure white, whilst another variety are standing 2 ft tall with lots of beautiful light green seed pods. The berries on the Cotoneaster Cornubias are turning red and beginning to cover trees. There is also a robust yellow variety. Colchicum (autumn crocuses) are thriving form, and there is an excellent show of pink Nerines. We also have a small group of blue crocuses, which are the original saffron crocus Sativus, a wonderful colour at this time of year.

As I mentioned earlier, the summer bedding plants are just fantastic just now. The colours are amazing. Also, the wide range of Gladioli which we planted in May are now amazing. We will keep these going until the first frost, then alas, they have gone, and Summer is past.

Ah well, such is gardening; it’s like the Forth Rail Bridge; work goes on all year round.

Roll on, Spring!