October is good month for visiting gardens open to the public for inspiration, as many border perennials will continue to flower, grasses are looking at their tawny best and trees large and small put on a fine display of leaf colour. Bright jewel colours glow in the low light.

Rose hips and a blue sky

At home there are splodges of reds throughout the garden from ripe apples to the ever reliable cotoneaster, hawthorns and rose hips.

Hesperanthus coccinea ‘Major’ is flowering like a traffic light. For a vibrant near colour clash plant it with Fuchsia ‘Mrs. Popple’. I like the contrast in structure too, one with upright flowers the other drooping. The Cornus mas is beginning to take up the torch just now and will be in flame until the wind strips the leaves.

As Ever – Things to do:
Plant bulbs: tulips, scilla with crocus, mix it up with hardy bedding like wallflowers, pansies, primulas.
Plant garlic corms, buy named varieties from the garden centre.
Sow broad beans to overwinter, this will give them a head start in the spring, while their roots will keep the soil in good heart during winter rains.
Plant seedlings of broccoli, cabbage and kale. I read recently that a dressing of Epsom salts help give them a good flavour. That will be worth a try.

Fuchsia ‘Mrs. Popple’ An old favourite and flashy with it.

Cut back the old fruited canes of rasps and blackberries and tie in this year’s long whippy stems, these will bear fruit next year.
Pick last of the apples and collect windfalls. Leave a few of these for foxes and wasps, why not? Don’t be too tidy, leave seed heads for insects and structure. Leave log piles for hibernating wildlife
Memo to self: finish evergreen hedge cutting.
Sweep up fallen leaves and heap them under shrubs, good for worms and birds and acts as a mulch for the shrubs, win/win.

Atmospheric cobwebs on the leaves of azalea