Reflect, Plan and Plant

October is a great time to step back from the garden and take a moment to plan what to do next. You’ll have seen your garden flourish or maybe struggle through the summer of ’22. You’ll have admired your favourite plants but have you also noted opportunities to enhance the space you have before the year is out.

October is a great time to add plants to your space – the soil is warm, there is accessible moisture for new roots and plants have plenty of time to establish before the coldest part of winter takes hold.

First principles when looking at a garden are… Does it work for you and your lifestyle all-year round? Is there interest in it every month of the year? Is maintenance a chore or pleasure? If you haven’t got a positive answer for each of these questions then now is the time to make changes.

If you enjoy alfresco cooking and dining in the summer but don’t have a dry space in the winter then you need to find space for a deck/patio and awning/gazebo. It is very easy to have flowers and stunning colour in the garden 12 months of the year – if you haven’t, you need to visit the garden centre every month and buy something attractive – flower or foliage.

Don’t forget to plant spring flowering bulbs this month, they can deliver flowers from early in the new year through until late May. A lot of customers miss some of the best plants we have on sale by only visiting in the spring and summer. Things in flower in January won’t look special in May so if we have any left (unlikely) you will just walk past them. Hellebores are one of the greatest examples of winter colour.

Spring Flowering Bulbs

At this time of year we see many wonderful foliage colours in the garden centre – think Westonbirt or Batsford Arboretum in a pot!

Acers feature heavily in my garden and they are all looking wonderful at the moment. In the new year, before they burst back into leaf, they are underplanted with hellebores, daffodils and ferns.


I’m about to move home for the first time in almost 30 years. There are a number of reasons for the move but the biggest of them all is the opportunity to have a new, larger garden to work with.

Current front and rear gardens are full of wonderful plants and I will be sorry to leave many behind but, being Autumn, I will be able to dig some up and replant in the new gardens. I’ve got ideas for the new layout but I won’t rush to do anything until I have seen the garden in the spring. Anything dug up now will be potted in a good quality peat-free compost, well-watered and looked after until their new home is identified. Initial plans include a productive garden with fruit, salads and flowers for cutting – I’ve decided that will be outside my office window so expect lots of reports on that in the months to come.

The front garden will need to look great all year round as it is the space we will walk through every day and as the house is in the middle of the village everyone will be keeping an eye on it to see ‘what the new folks do’. As for the rest of it… well all it has is two apple trees and a lot of lawn so it really is a blank canvas! More to tell once we get moved in.