Welcome to the October edition of Fiveways Gardens.

It's time to plant some bulbs.  Daffs and alliums can be planted from now as can the very early flowering Iris reticulata.  Tulips are best left till November to plant.  If you've not got bulbs yet, then get browsing bulb brochures, websites or garden centres and nurseries for spring flowering bulbs.

As well as your tried and tested favourites, why not try something new this year?  There are all sorts of bulbs that won't be suitable for your garden soil or aspect so perhaps you've not considered them.  However, many will grow quite happily in containers.  It's a good idea to incorporate a bit of horticultural grit (available at most garden centres) in with the compost as well as putting some broken crocks or bits of polystyrene (much lighter) in the bottom of the container.  Bulbs, and incidentally most winter bedding, will perform all the better for having good drainage.  Please, no pots with saucers under them over winter - you'll drown your plants.  Whether you order from catalogues or buy from your favourite nursery or garden centre, it makes sense to buy as soon as you can.  This way, the bulbs will be in better condition when you plant them and you'll have a much better choice, as many of the more desirable varieties sell quickly.

Autumn is arguably the best time to plant most things - shrubs, trees, climbers and perennials.  The soil is still warm from the summer and there's now evidence that roots often continue growing into December.  In Brighton's mild climate this could be prolonged into January. If you can get plants in during autumn they'll have a root system better able to cope with the hot dry summer that we may well have again next year.     

Prune those "out of control" climbing and rambling roses after flowering and tie in the stems.  This is especially important if you didn't get round to it last year.  I've seen roses pull fences down in windy autumns and I'm sure one's on the way.                                                      

If you fancy taking a look at some dramatic autumn colour, you could head off to Sheffield Park, High Beeches or Nymans gardens - all are stunning at this time of year

Best wishe


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