Welcome to the October edition of Fiveways Gardens.

In the veg garden, lift and divide rhubarb, if it's getting a bit big for the space.  Dig up the last of the main crop potatoes, carrots, cabbages and beans and store well.  If, like me, you've a glut of green tomatoes, either fry them up in some olive oil and a sprinkling of brown sugar and have them on toast for a hearty breakfast, or look up a green tomato chutney recipe and give it a go.

This is a good time of year to take a long, hard look at your garden and ponder on what's worked well and what hasn't.  In my experience, plants don't tend to read the same books as us.  What I mean is, that no matter how well we might research a plant in terms of right plant right place etc, there is no guarantee that any given plant will be happy in a particular spot, or grow in quite the way we'd hoped.   The simple fact is, that plants, as living things, are susceptible to all sorts of foes, be they pests, diseases, too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry...  It's also the case that some plants from the same line at the same nursery are tougher and frankly better than others.  It's nature, it's life.  And it's exactly why every year we'll likely need to top up our plant borders and pots.  If needing a bit of inspiration, why not take a trip out to one of the fantastic gardens near us.  Highdown Gardens in Worthing is free (although happy for donations towards upkeep).  It's been created on the same chalky soil many of us are familiar with, so if it's growing there, chances are, it'll be okay in your garden.  Alternatively, Sheffield Park, Nymans, Borde Hill and Wakehurst are all well worth a visit, and at this time of year, we'll hopefully get the extra treat of lots of gorgeous autumn colour.

If you haven't already, get ordering your bulbs.  The more I've gardened, the more I come to appreciate these amazing plants.  Winter, especially the past few, can seem to drag on and on, and the emergence of the first green leaves and flower stems in late winter and early spring really does cheer me up. 

Finally, don't forget:

•      Regularly rake leaves off lawns and consider some autumn lawn TLC - autumn feed, rake, aerate, scarify and top dress to try to sort out some of those bumps and dips.

•      It's a good time to plant just about everything - unless you're waiting for bare-root stock in winter.

•      Get any hedges clipped now or leave them till next spring.

Best wishes


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