In the garden in October
•It’s such a lovely time of year to be working outside, but spring winds can be a hassle so tie things up, or down, provide support for soft sappy growth, and have string handy for instant use as you come across new growth. • Reduce transplanting shock for seedlings by planting in the cool of the morning or evening and cut back the foliage by a third to minimise transpiration. Keep seedlings well-watered.
Birds are busy nesting and scratching for food for their babies, but we want food and beauty for ourselves as well, so netting spread over plants and along rows can be a good idea until the plants are big
enough to survive.
• Once the soil is warm (about 12°C), mulch can be put down to conserve moisture. It needs to go onto damp soil, not dry ground.
• Gaps in the flower garden may well fill in later with perennial growth, but if it looks a bit scrappy now, a few punnets of annuals will help to fill bare patches. Alternatively, you can fill in the gaps with big rocks or interesting driftwood, a sculpture, or maybe a place to sit while you rest from your work.
• Take time to enjoy your garden, whether it be with a treasure hunt, games of hide and seek, tea parties, barbecues, or a quiet sit by yourself to enjoy the beauty.
Iwas righteously indignant (again!) a few years back when an English gardening guru criticised Aotearoa gardeners for something like planting too many pansies. He went on to make pretentious remarks about fashion and form and the cringe factor of not being in the vanguard of style.
All I can say is he’s welcome to the constriction of trying to conform, but I don’t need to be told what to do and how to do it according to his rules. One of the joys of having a garden to play in is not having to fit any fashion or trend, any style or must, have-to or should. My garden is mine, your garden is yours and within the constraints of time, budget, energy, knowledge, climate and soil conditions, we can entirely please ourselves.
My life used to be full of the requirements of children, businesses, animals, nurseries, writing and work at the hospital. I would let the garden slide and then put in a huge effort to get it under control again. These days, with the blessing of more disposable time, I maintain it a lot better, but it’s not a ‘neat and tidy garden’ by most peoples’ standards. However, it is what we like and that is the joy of a garden.
At this time of year I am happy, enjoying the rapid growth, lush greenery and wonderful flowers that the perennial garden provides. When I think of the transformation that takes place from the months of July and August to October and November, it’s a chance to rejoice in the miraculous. There’s so much beauty in blossom and gentle flowers, new vibrant foliage, and all those flower heads budding up with their potential beauty.
The warming weather means you can think about garden activities such as games, tea parties, barbecues, sketching or photo sessions, or whatever your garden lends itself to in the way of entertainment. When our children were small I would make up rhyming and pictorial treasure hunts. Those who could read did, while the smaller ones guessed where to go from the pictures. There were clear guidelines that the group had to move together so everyone had a turn.
Your garden is your place to experiment. You could try a different gardening system, like Biodynamics which aspires to be a closed system where the majority of garden input is derived from the immediate area.
This can be a good thing and also
Hebe in full bloom. Plenty of October work going on in the vege patch. The delicate flowers of poor man’s
orchid invite closer inspection. Hosta foliage
providing beauty way before the flowers arrive.