Peter’s Gardening tips for late October

Print Friendly

This is not a normal autumn! The colours are so late after all the rain and amazingly warm temperatures.

Leaf Coloration

Bright yellow,red,and orange,
The leaves come down in hosts;
The trees are Indian Princes,
But soon they’ll turn to ghosts!

– Allingham

Just get out over the next few days and enjoy! Any wood with Sweet Chestnuts growing has the ground covered with them. The prickly hedgehog type cases with the chestnuts inside or split open on the ground. They are Huge this year. Get them before the squirrels and deer munch them all!!

Whilst in the woods take a closer look at Mosses, Lichens and Toadstools – the miniature world of Fairies, Elves…They’re just magical!

Fairies' homes!

The miniature world of Fairies and Elves

Back to gardening!

Sweet Peas:

Definitely one of the best cottage garden plants with a wonderful scent and makes a fabulous cut flower.

If you would like early flowers next year, now is the time to sow them. I sow the seeds in Root Trainers. One per cell. These are the best sowing module for Peas,Beans and Sweet Peas, because of the depth of the cells – they all produce long tap roots. Root Trainers are reusable,washable and give great results. Sweet Peas come in a wonderful range of colours available from Kings, Suttons, Unwins, Fothergills, Thompson and Morgan seed companies to name a few.

Everlasting Sweet Pea

Everlasting Sweet Pea


This week is mainly dry unless you live in Northern England or Scotland.

Scarify and aerate the lawn and put down autumn lawn feed with moss control which will be watered in later in the week!

The same goes for grass seed sowing. It will germinate as long as the soil is above 5°c.


If you haven’t already tidy and clean out. Wash the glass down for maximum light levels. Insulate with bubble wrap or polycarbonate sheets. Bring in all tender plants and a few herbs to keep you supplied with over the coming weeks.

Planting Time, Digging up, Splitting and Dividing of plants:

Unless your soil is really heavy clay, wet and sodden, now is the best time to plant new trees,shrubs and herbaceous plants. Large clumps of perennials can be lifted and divided. Clear away any non productive veg and dig over the ground roughly leaving large lumps for the frost to break down. Raised beds can be mulched and let the worms draw the goodness down.




Birds are flocking together- wonderful to see Skylark, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Corn Bunting all on the stuble fields close to home. It’s been so wet the fields haven’t been ploughed yet so loads of farmland birds enjoying the wild flower seeds and spilt grain. I wish we had more winter stuble fields for the birds to feed on.

First flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares arriving to feed on another exceptional year of berries on Hollies, Cotoneasters, Hawthorns and Crab Apples. Still a few butterflies, bees, wasps and bumblebees feeding on the Ivy flowers and anything else in flower.

Autumn Watch starts this Tuesday 28th of October on BBC2 8pm.

So this week with the children on half term go collecting some leaves and make a Technicolor Colage of a Witch, Dragon, Chicken – whatever you fancy, let your imagination go and kick a few leaves!

Happy hunting for leaves and make something of them – even compost…

Happy Gardening!

The following two tabs change content below.

Peter Mills

I love everything to do with natural history, wildlife, biodiversity and of course horticulture - basically the big outdoors. I grew up with very good teachers namely my parents and my French grandfather who was a superb grower of vegetables. At Hadlow College I studied a three year OND in Horticulture. I had a market stall selling plants. Went onto wholesaling house plants to florists and garden centres across southern England. In 1986 I joined Clandon Park Garden Centre as manager. Whilst there I started my career as a gardening radio presenter with the BBC Southern Counties Radio. This continued for 15 years, building up valuable contacts with the RHS Wisley, live broadcasts from Chelsea & Hampton Court Flower shows, South of England & Surrey County shows etc. Since 1998 I have been self-employed, working as a Head Gardener and in private gardens . Through the RHS Advisory Department at Wisley I advise on horticultural problems in members gardens, including pest & disease problems, lawn-care advice, pruning of wisterias, fruit trees, roses, wildlife gardening, growing fruit & vegetables, creating wildflower meadows, identifying plants and control of pernicious weeds. Autumn 2016 finds me at the Autumn Flower Show 6-8 of September at RHS Wisley and Taste of Autumn Sunday 23rd of October. Sunday 11th of September I am cycling from London to Brighton for Perennial ( Gardeners Benevolent Fund) who helped me when I broke my leg badly in 2014. Had the plate removed in February this year. My Just Giving page is Perennial is a Fabulous Charity who help anyone working in horticulture. I didn't think I would need their help at the age of 52! They were brilliant and helped us as a family. It's my turn to repay their help and others too! John Ambrose and I have raised over £ 2000.00 thank you all. I am an extremely lucky guy who loves what I do and the trade called Horticulture!

Not a member?

Join the silversurfers community today! It's free, easy to do, and is packed full of features and amazing offers!

Join the community!
Click here if you have forgotten your password
hilda watson
26th Oct 2014
Thanks for voting!
I only have a terrace, and am looking for plants that will flower thru the winter to grow in pots, already have winter flowering pansies and red berry plant...
Peter Mills
26th Oct 2014
Thanks for voting!
Hi Hilda,
Mini Cyclamen, Winter flowering heathers Erica carnea, Erica x darlyensis, Violas. Few plants will flower if the weather turns nasty. Think of foliage as well Heuchera, Adjuga, ivies, hardy herbs, heucherellas, ferns.
Regards Peter.

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!

More Garden

Peter's Autumn Gardening tips gardening, season, autumn and fruits concept - close up of wicker basket with ripe red apples and leaves on wooden table
Another record breaking autumn. Fabulous Indian summer, highest temperatures recorded of the year...
Perk Up Your Patio Pots For Autumn Flowers
If your summer containers are looking tired, make the most of autumn by giving your pots a fresh...
Peter's Gardening Tips for September Midsection of woman carrying crate with freshly harvested vegeta
September is called the “Seed Scattering” month.  This is a great time for seed gathering be...
Peter's Gardening tips for late summer Organic ripe apples ready to pick on tree branches
This years  s ummer gardening can be described as challenging!     June was so wet...
Peter’s Gardening tips for August 2016 Purple pink blue and red Hydrangea flowers
The weather has been very unpredictable again this summer! Such a mixture of sunshine and showers...
Weird and wonderful tips to eradicate pests in the garden! two big snails on a green hosta leafs
Not keen on using chemicals in the war against the pests in your garden? Here are some tips that...
Peter's Gardening tips for June Pink roses,beautiful pink roses blooming in the garden
This month I am focussing on scent in your garden. Scent to my mind is one of the most important...
Environet UK – a Leading Japanese Knotweed Removal Specialist 1 Flowering Japanese knotweed in garden logo
Environet specialises in removing Japanese knotweed using eco-innovative methods. Knotweed is now...
Peter's Gardening tips for May 2016 Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) pink flower. Green leafs of rhododendron are in the background.
The long wait for Spring has finally happened and WOW what an explosion of growth, colours to...
Peter's Gardening Tips for April 2016 IMAG0121
What a contrast this Spring is to last year. We were desperate for the rain and it was warm!...
The best spring gardens for 2016 Bodnant Gardens
Gardens are never more beautiful than in the blooms of spring; the vibrant flowers, lush greens...
Peter’s Gardening Tips for March 2016 Wild crocus (Crocus tommasinianus) blooming in a back lit garden lawn in the first sun rays in spring
A tricky month March, the weather can be so fickle. 2016 spring is going to be a harsh start to...