OCTOBER IN YOUR GARDEN

mrgreen smlBy greenfinger

The garden centres in North Cyprus are now full of spring flowering bulbs this month with so many varieties to choose from. Huge bulbs of amaryllis are available in various colours.Amaryllis

Buy them now but don’t plant them yet, as you don’t want them to flower too soon. The same goes for freesias and tulips, the latter can even be planted in late November. If you plant freesias too early, then they will shoot up far too fast and their foliage will flop about all winter. Daffodils and hyacinths can grow on for several years but tulips will only give of their best in the first year and they are often grown in tubs because of this. Tiny bulbs like muscari have very dainty blue flowers, but seed themselves everywhere.

Watch out there is a lot of growth about this month! Almond trees need some pruning now as they could have put on about 1½ metres, so prune back all that growth or you won’t be able to harvest the nuts next year.

Daffodils Tulips

The lovely rain in late September meant that growth started again on trees and shrubs that have been resting during the hot summer months so get out the shears and trim those hedges and topiaries. If you are planning to grow vegetables,  wait for the soil to be moist and make sure that the plugs are moist too.

Dig over the soil in your veggie beds and add in any home made compost to enrich the soil. It is lovely to have broad beans and kohl rabi straight from the garden as well as tiny heads of broccoli and cauliflowers, instead of the huge heads that are available in the shops so buy plugs of them now. They taste so good too.

Virginia Creeper is a great plant to cover a wall or fence and the autumn colouring, caused by lowering temperatures, is just breathtaking and equal to many North American woodlands. Alas, it looks like a bunch of dried sticks during the winter, as it is a deciduous climber and loses its colourful leaves then. It can reach great heights sometimes 20-30 metres if it enjoys the place where it is growing. The adhesive pads on the forked tendrils aid it in climbing, so a smooth wall is not a handicap to its growth. To grow it to its best it prefers a slightly shaded to partial shaded site away from other plants as it can smother them and cause them not to photosynthesize. It can tolerate periods of dryness.

The leaves are composed of five leaflets, which have toothy margins and are green in the first instance. The flowers are small and greenish and appear in late spring and are really of no consquence, other than for their berries, which birds will feed on during the winter. The berries are toxic to humans and some mammals and the creeper can cause irritations if rubbed against the skin. So take care when handling this plant.

Some pruning away of dead or diseased wood in the late winter and feeding with an all round fertiliser in spring will ensure a plentiful supply of gorgeous red leaves later on.

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