October is a hectic month
for gardeners. Whatever the weather there are
jobs that have to be done before the end of
the month. A major task can be the lifting and
planting of bulbs.
Most of those summer and autumn
show stoppers have finished flowering with dahlias,
autumn crocus and nerines still making a late
flowers of gladioli are long gone and by now
the foliage will be yellow or brown. It is normal
to lift the corms now and dry them before storing
in a dry, frost free shed. The leaves are removed
and the little cormels saved and stored separately.
These tiny corms will grow like grass and after
a few years will be large enough to form flowers.
Begonias need to be lifted before
the first frosts of the autumn. Check the tubers
for rot or damage caused when lifting. Pests
such as snails and slugs left undiscovered will
soon destroy a whole tray of begonias. When
the soil has been removed and they are dry store
them in a cool, airy room.
is still time to plant the winter and spring
flowering bulbs. Daffodils, hyacinths, bluebells,
snowdrops and crocus should be planted before
the middle of October. Tulips may be planted
as late as the middle of November but buy the
bulbs as soon as possible. By the time you are
planting there will be few, if any, in the stores
to choose from.
Don’t be tempted by the
pictures of pretty flowers. Impulse buying for
existing gardeners will lead to problems and
the headache of where to plant them in an already
bulging garden. Often the obvious space between
plants is already home to bulbs that will appear
there is space, cultivate the soil and dig a
hole with the base at least two to three times
deeper than the size of the bulb. Space them
two to four inches apart depending on bulb girth.
Crocus may be planted closer than hyacinths.
Remove stones larger than one inch. Add bone
meal to each planting position to encourage
the bulbs to increase in size for the following
Where space in the garden is
limited, one option is to plant your spring
bulbs in pots. They can be layered with the
larger bulbs forming the bottom layer and small
crocus and species daffodils and tulips nearer
to the soil surface. They will all flower normally
and the containers can be placed for maximum
effect. After flowering they may be moved out
of sight until the foliage dies and the bulbs
are again lifted for storage.
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