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What to do in your garden - October 2017

October is the ideal time for planting; your garden soil will be warm, and we’ve had some decent rainfall - these growing conditions mean that plant roots can have a head start on getting established and your garden will be ready to spring into action next year! It’s a wonderful season with glorious autumn colour and fruits ripening in the garden… a time for reflection on what’s worked well in the garden, but also a great opportunity to think about what you’d like to plant to add colour and interest – whether it is for fruit, flower or foliage. Here’s a summary of what’s looking good right now, and what you can do to make your garden look its best over the autumn:

  • Our fabulous range of Barbara Austin 9cm pot perennials is back in stock for a limited time only – the perfect way to bulk up your borders. From grasses to ground cover plants, a great selection of “little gems” for planting now!  Plant in groups of three or five for maximum impact in your garden beds and borders. 

  • Sowing sweet peas in autumn is beneficial as the seedlings may flower earlier (next summer) than those sown in spring. Overwinter in an unheated greenhouse, cold frame or cool but light place. Pinch out the growing tips to encourage bushiness. Sweet peas can be planted outdoors once hardened off (meaning get them used to colder conditions, around April).

  • Bulb planting: come and see our extensive range of fabulous spring flowering bulbs. A mouth-watering array of colourful varieties to plant now. In store we have excellent value “cram-a pot” or “fill-a-bag” crocus, narcissi and tulips, and also large sacks of mixed narcissi which are ideal for bulk planting or naturalising bulbs in large areas of lawn to come up year on year.  Have you grown alliums (ornamental onions) before? Here’s our growing guide for further information.

  • Autumn soft fruit: plenty of luscious soft fruit available - ready to plant, including blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Blueberries need an acid (ericaceous) soil to thrive in the garden, but make excellent container plants. With all their anti-oxidant and vitamin C benefits, why not grow a couple? Here are our guidelines to growing blueberries:

  • Wallflower planting time is here! There’s nothing quite like the sweet scent of wallflowers in spring, and their flower colours brighten up borders at a time of the year when nothing much is in flower. Choose from bare root or container grown plants, or bedding 6 packs. A range of colours available. Plant in a sunny position. 

  • Vegetable plants - sow spinach and parsley for a winter crop. Plant onion sets. Sow mini leaves for autumn and winter – kale, swiss chard, corn salad and cress, lettuce and rocket. Microgreens (such as opal basil and broccoli greens) and the old favourite - mustard and cress - can be sown indoors all year round.

  • Our suggestions for the best evergreen bedding plants to give your hanging baskets and containers structure and colour over the winter: coloured (dyed) heathers , mini conifers, grasses such as yellow carex or silver Festuca ‘Intense Blue’, euonymus with colourful variegated leaves, pieris, choiysa, shrubby honeysuckle and skimmia. The hardy plants can be potted on into larger containers or planted in the garden next spring. We also have mixed packs of evergreens, to give foliage colour and enhance your winter plantings.

  • Fruit trees are in stock and now is the perfect time to plant: apples, cherries, greengage, quince, peaches, pears and plums. Come and see what we have in store.

  • When frosts are forecast, lift tender dahlias and tuberous begonias to overwinter in a cool frost-free place, find our frostgards online.

  • Autumn is the best time to plant a tree. Containerised trees can be planted at any time of the year time unless the ground is frozen or waterlogged, but in the cooler and usually wetter conditions at this time of year the tree roots will start to establish over the autumn and winter months so that in the spring it will burst into growth. 

Longacres Bagshot plant team has been asked to name their favourite ornamental tree – so we thought we’d share their selection and why they chose it, to give you some inspiration for your garden. Click here to find out their top picks.