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Tips & Blog
Gardening in October

Gardening in October

Gardening in October

October is time to start planning ahead for winter and early spring colour as well as for end of year "tidying up" of the garden.

Just in are a wide selection of Camelias – their glossy, evergreeen foliage will provide structure in the garden all year, and you will be rewarded with masses of beautiful flowers from February right through to April. Camelias need very little care or pruning and thrive in Manx conditions.

Evergreens are not the only way to add colour and form to the winter garden. We have both yelllow and red-stemmed Cornus (dogwood). Planted now and cut down to near ground level in Nov/Dec, they will produce an array of gold or scarlet upright stems early in the year, brightening the dullest day.

New deliveries of autumn/winter shrubs include Hebes, winter flowering Honeysuckle and Viburnum. Winter honeysuckle bushes have gorgeous scented flowers from December to March. Hebes are easy and reliable, they come in a range of foliage colours and in addition to being evergreen, will provide purple or white flowers in summer. Viburnum's creamy flowers are currently giving the bees a late season nectar supply, and will be followed by berries for the birds.

In addition to the range of beautiful new shrubs, a big sale of older stock shrubs is now on. Mainly marked at half price, these plants are hungry to be planted and get their roots down into your garden, where they will reward you for years to come.

The garden can begin to look a little "scruffy" at this time of year with deciduous trees shedding leaves and perennials dying back ready for winter dormancy. When raking up dead leaves, giving the lawn a last cut and cutting back those perennials, why not recycle this waste material and make your own compost? Riley's have a range of compost bins available and you will be amazed how much garden and kitchen waste you can recycle this way. Try to alternate layers of brown (dry) and green material for best results.

Now is also a good time to add cheer with winter tubs and baskets, and winter bedding. We have lovely ready-planted tubs and hanging baskets full of autumn and winter colour. If you have containers of your own to fill, or a border or path edge to brighten, options include heathers, ornamental grasses, cyclamen, winter pansies, polyanthus, variegated ivy and ornamental cabbages - to name but a few of the choices we have available. When planting your winter bedding, don't forget to underplant with spring bulbs. You can also plant naturalising bulbs under and between deciduous shrubs and trees. Daffodils, anemone blanda, snowdrops and many others are suitable for this - they require no care, will spread and come up every spring. There is nothing more cheerful than the first bright yellow daffodils or the vivid blue of grape hyacinths.

At this time of year you may notice birds behaving differently: instead of being seen singly or in pairs, they are flocking together. Living together they can hunt food together and help each other keep warm in the colder nights! This may mean that you suddenly find your bird feeders inundated by much larger groups of birds. Many of these may be young birds, only reared in late August or early September. Providing high energy foods like fatballs, sunflower seeds and peanuts will help these youngsters grow robust enough to get through their first Manx winter. Riley's have a large range of bird foods and feeders, and as well as gaining enjoyment from feeding the birds, this is a great way to get children interested in the natural world. We also stock bug hotels, butterfly and ladybird homes and bird boxes. Come along with your children and grandchildren and find out all the ways you can help wildlife – from wildlife-friendly plants, birdbaths and bird feeders to hedgehog food, you'll find it all at Riley's!

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