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October in the Garden

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Hosta in October During October and November I try to clear  and tidy up the borders; what and how much to cut back is often a matter of preference. Tidy borders or more garden free borders?  Sometimes the plant  appears solves the problem, the image left is a Hosta even before frost it is collapsing and better cut down to the ground. Quite often you don't even need to cut the leaves come away in your hands.

I have already cut back the Delphiniums whose foliage looked tatty by September, and Peonies are on the point of collapsing as well. Most  of the herbaceous plants can be cut back to soil level, such as Hosta, Delphinium, Alchemilla mollis, Crocosmia, some of the hardy geraniums (you will know which they will look brown) Heuchera, Stachys byzantina.  There are other perennials which I cut back to allow the new growth such as Nepeta, Aquilegia, but you need to be careful not to damage the new growth which on some early spring flowering plants, such as Aquilegia will already be visible. The image below left shows the new growth, so when cutting back cut the stems just above the growth. 

aquilegia-in-october-310x240Some perennial plants are best left untouched for cover or because they stay attractive during the winter. Slightly tender perennials such as Penstemon are best left uncut as the top growth may offer some winter protection.

Sedum has just lovely flowers which look beautiful dusted with snow or frosted, as in the image below and I leave the flower heads on until early spring. This time of year, with all the cutting back, I find once I remove the canopy of the perennials the weeds are there to be seen, and plenty of them. October, November and even December on mild days are good for weeding. It maybe my imagination, but I find the weeds pull out easier after a couple of frosts to loosen the soil.

Lovely to see at this time of year the simple sight of a spider's web strung across the plants  highlighted by the sun. I just can't cut those plants down to later when the spiders have disappeared for the winter.



sedum-dusted-with-frost-310-x-240-Spiders web in October


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