October is the ideal time to re-pot all your container plants, feed your orchids and prepare your spring blooms to look their best. Here’s a round-up of things to tick off your spring to-do list
Your October gardening to-do list
Prepare your spring blooms
Daffodils and other spring bulbs brighten up the garden at this time of year with their colour or scent. If yours are in leaf, bud or flower make sure you give them a good feed with a standard bulb fertiliser so they’ll produce lots of lovely blooms. Keep potted bulbs watered, especially those from temperate regions such as daffodils, narcissus, hyacinth and tulip, which don’t like their soil too dry. And leave foliage to die down naturally as this is how bulbs build up food for next season’s flowers.
Prevent weeds from appearing
Weeds love warm, wet weather so cover up bare soil as soon as you can with an organic mulch of bark, pea straw, shredded pine or even leaf mould, around 6cm deep.
Keep your garden healthy with fertiliser
Feed your garden well so that everything stays healthy and lush all through summer. Sprinkle a general fertiliser around the root zone of all plants, particularly hedges, shrubs and trees, then water it in so roots can absorb it easily.
It’s time to re-pot and refresh container plants
Now is a good time to re-pot all your container plants. Potting mix needs to be replenished every couple of years to keep plants performing well. For large plants it may only be possible to remove part of the mix and then top up the container with fresh stuff. Use good-quality potting mix and wear a protective mask and gloves.
Feed your orchids
Feed orchids with a specialised fertiliser such as Yates Thrive Orchid Liquid Plant Food.
Brighten up shady areas of the garden
Shady areas a problem? Fill them with plants that thrive in those conditions such as helleborus (aka winter rose); orange-or yellow-flowering clivia; deliciously scented daphne and lush-leaved hostas.
Grow your own bromeliads
Bromeliads are another excellent filler. Rather than buy lots of new bromeliads, propagate your own by cutting pups (side shoots) off the base of parent plants and placing in coarse potting mix.
Add a blossom tree to your garden
Every garden should have a blossom tree in my book. They’re the perfect pick-me-up after a long, grey winter, they look gorgeous and many attract birds with their nectar. From magnolias to flowering cherries, there are trees for every size of garden (some are quite happy in pots, too) and it’s still not too late to plant them if you get your skates on.
Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Brigid Arnott/bauermediasyndication.com.au