Resident gardener Aileen Atcheson gives further expert advice on keeping your garden looking its finest in October
October is the busiest time in the garden, I always think. However, the hard work one does now repays a hundredfold in spring. All bulbs except tulips should be planted by now. You can plant tulips until November, even during November. But other spring bulbs planted late, especially daffodils, flower late and give a poor display of flowers usually. A bed or border of autumn plants and grasses is a good addition to any garden. Asters, sedums, Michaelmus Daisies, Verbena, Kniphofia give colour to the garden late in the year.
Remove as many stones from the bed or border as you can, dig well and put the taller plants at the back. Sedum is better planted toward the front with the slender verbena dotted throughout the bed. Let the seedheads remain as long as you can. Only cut down in spring before new growth begins. For foliage effect plant a euphorbia and be sure to water well.
Now for your herbaceous border, before you plant anything, prepare the border well. Dig in plenty of compost and if drainage is not so good, add a bit of gravel.
Delphiniums, Phlox, Lupins, Digitalis, Geum, Verbascum, Penstemon are all great, showy plants best planted in threes. An odd number is always better when planting flowers. The delphiniums will need staking. In the spring, cut down old foliage and mulch well.