Grand finale

Our gardening expert Kim Wilde explains how October can be full of colour.

Before you start dreading the end of a beautiful summer and moaning about turning the clocks back again, look outside and enjoy the scene as nature lays on the grand spectacle of autumn for us.

October is one of the most colourful months of the year, with coloured berries and leaves, and sharp, pungent smells from ripened fruit and decaying leaves. I love it!

The seeds my son Harry sowed last spring have at last turned into pumpkins, ready for carving into witchy lanterns this Hallowe’en, and we are still picking Autumn Bliss raspberries, which – conveniently – can be grown without support. Just because winter is round the corner, it’s not all over in the garden – far from it!

Looking good this month
  • Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’. Grasses are among the highlights of autumn. As its name suggest, this one is a see-through plant, so place it where it will catch the light and show off its fine architectural shape.
  • Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’. Glowing with deep pink flowers, this fleshy perennial is loved by bees and butterflies.
  • Crocus speciosus This vigorous crocus has a very long flowering period from early to late autumn and looks particularly good when grown in your lawn.
  • Viburnum opulus ‘Notcutt’s variety’. One of my favourites, the guelder rose is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub, grown primarily for its display of glossy red berries, which glisten in the sun.
  • Liriope muscari Upright, dense lavender spikes appear on evergreen strappy leaves from late summer to late autumn. This tough ground-cover plant is tolerant of dry shade.
October jobs
  • Collect leaves to make leaf mould. Pack them tightly in plastic bin liners and leave for a year; then dig in or use as a mulch. 
  • Put nets over ponds as protection from fallen leaves, which can harm fish.
  • October is an ideal month for planning hardy deciduous trees and shrubs, as the soil is both warm and moist. Evergreens do better if planted in the spring.
  • The end of October is a good time to plant tulip bulbs. 
  • Cut the top growth off dahlia tubers.