Peter’s Gardening tips for October

Autumn has arrived and the weather is changing and becoming much more wet and unsettled.

October is the month when our gardens change dramatically, both in colour and the type of jobs that need attending to. Fungi are appearing daily, leaves are beginning to change colour and fall and wildlife are preparing for the new season collecting what they need for the chilly months ahead.

Last month, I visited RHS Wisley and made some videos to share with you. Take a look around RHS Wisley with me here. In these video chapters, I talk to RHS Wisley’s Curator Matthew Pottage about his vision for the future of Wisley, and we get a look at their 3 new gardens that focus on Food, Wellbeing and Wildlife.

Take advantage of fantastic savings on these exciting plant collections, each capable of growing into stunning garden displays – all available from the Silversurfers Shop!

Fly agaric

Back to gardening as there are always jobs to be done, whatever time of year.

Jobs to do

  • Make room in the compost bins for all the leaves to come! This is free garden compost – I know it’s a pain but it really does help your plants. Use a rotary mower to hoover up
  • Dig over vegetable beds or rotovate before heavy rain comes.
  • Buy garlic, autumn onion/shallots for planting.
  • Buy spring-flowering bulbs – daffodils, crocus, tulips etc.
  • Plant winter flowering plants such as winter-flowering heathers, foliage plants for containers with pansies, violas, primroses and polyanthus and bulbs underneath.
  • Cut hedges.
  • Treat lawns – scarify and aerate. Treat for moss.
  • Bring in tender plants into conservatory or house – lemons, bananas, orchids, non-hardy plants such as geraniums, fuchsias, lantanas, cannas ……
  • Harvest apples and pears
  • Finish pruning trained fruit trees and wisteria.
  • Repairs to shed roof.
  • Pressure wash patio/decking and treat with an algicide.
  • Make a list of the successes and failures in the veg patch and garden!

If you need some inspiration take a look at these 7 wonderful plant collections to grow in your garden!

Spring Colour

Planning now will help add colour for pots and borders, including Pansies, Violas, Polyanthus and Primroses etc.

Autumn is the best time for planting spring bulbs giving them the winter months to put out roots in readiness for a spectacular display next spring and we now have a wide range of bulb packs in the Silversurfers Shop, ready to pre-order.

Our great value packs include DaffodilsTulipsHyacinths, and all your favourites for spring. Perfect for the front of a border display or for growing in pots and containers. Browse our full collection of Spring Bulbs and be inspired!


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

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.




Hedgehogs will now be looking for winter shelter 

If you have a compost heap, you’re already halfway there for helping hedgehogs, because these hibernating mammals love them. So make sure you do any compost-turning slowly and carefully during the winter months so you don’t disturb your prickly friends, advises Helen Bostock, RHS senior horticultural adviser and co-author of How Can I Help Hedgehogs? Also, don’t block off the crawl spaces under garden sheds and decking, because hedgehogs also hibernate happily under there.

If you accidentally disturb a hibernating hedgehog, cover it back up as quickly as possible, leave a saucer of moist cat food and a shallow saucer of water nearby in case it needs to replenish its supplies, and give its surroundings a wide berth.

It’s not unusual for hedgehogs to wake up and move hibernation sites once or twice during the winter, so don’t worry if it relocates, but try and leave natural shelter such as piles of leaves in the garden or you can buy a hedgehog house.

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.

Happy Gardening!

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Peter has spent his life gardening, working in garden centres and advising in all aspects of gardening, wildlife, and bio-diversity in horticulture.He managed Clandon Park Garden Centre in Surrey at the age of 23 and was a gardening radio presenter with the BBC. This continued for 15 years, running live broadcasts from Chelsea & Hampton Court Flower shows, South of England & Surrey County shows.Now self-employed, Peter works on a wide variety of gardens from private to large estates and also concentrating on consultancy and advisory work to fellow gardeners. He works with the RHS Gardening Advice team at Chelsea, Hampton Court, Wisley Flower shows and is an RHS External Gardening Advisor

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