Now that we are well and truly into spring there is a lot happening in the garden. Plants that were dormant over winter seem to be able to sense that the weather has changed and they are coming to life. Our apple trees are blossoming now and the other fruit trees have all got their new leaves. With everything coming back to life it is great being out in the garden and I am looking forward to getting stuck into my October gardening jobs!
We are hoping that most of the really cold weather is behind us now but we are still keeping an eye on overnight temperatures. We have had a frost during October in the past. A late frost will cause the almonds to fall off our almond trees, so we are hoping that doesn’t happen this year!
The warmer weather has bought out the local wildlife lately too. We regularly see a couple of stumpy tail lizards and also a blue tongue moving around the yard. We know that the magpies are busy feeding their young because we can hear the distinct cry of the babies as they accept their food. Last year we had a very cheeky magpie that was bringing its baby to our back door for food. That hasn’t happened this year – now that we have cats!
We haven’t had a lot of rain lately but we did have a really good downpour last week which gave the garden a good drink, the rain seems to do more for the plants than any watering we do! Thankfully the weeds are beginning to slow down a bit now so it is easier to keep up with them.
There are still a few spring weeds that try to get established so keeping up with the weeding features again in my list of October gardening jobs!
My October Gardening Jobs
- Weed and mulch around vegetable and ornamental beds where necessary
- Prune passionfruit vine
- Mound potato plants
- Trim lavender plants
- Watch out for late frosts and protect susceptible plants when necessary
- Plant out potted chrysanthemums
- Increase watering as the weather warms
- Fertilize roses
- Deadhead spring flowering bulbs as the flowers die off
- Plant out potted vegetables like tomatoes when risk of frost has past
One of my favourite plants in the garden has just burst into flower over the last couple of days. It is the California lilac bush and we have four in our garden. It is so easy to fall for the California lilac because at this time of year they look stunning with their beautiful blue flowers.
There are not too many shrubs that have this distinct blue flower so they really stand out. Lately we have been easily able to point them out in gardens when driving around town. They only flower for a few weeks in spring but their blue colour display is definitely worth the wait.
They are not only an attractive plant but we find that they are also a very hardy plant. They can cope with quite a heavy frost in the winter and equally they don’t seem to mind the really hot weather in summer. In fact the original California lilac bush in our garden coped really well with a ten year drought that we had a few years back!
They are also pretty low maintenance which makes them a plant to consider when planning an easy care garden.
Another one of the really spectacular flowers in our garden at the moment is the Clivia. We have two Clivias that are producing beautiful big orange flowers at the moment. We also have a couple of younger Clivias that are different colours but they haven’t flowered yet because they take a few years to mature and produce flowers.
We have our Clivias growing in pots on our veranda so that they are protected from winter frosts. They seem to do quite well in the pots and look lovely at this time of year when placed near the door!
We had our spring flowering bulbs in pots on our front veranda this year and have had some lovely flowers to look at through the windows. We did have a problem with slugs this year though. The slugs got into the tulip pots and ate quite a few of the flower heads when they were still small!
I was a bit surprised to lose the tulip flowers because we hadn’t had this problem before. I know what damage the slugs can do now so I will be ready for them next year!
We have a big onion patch with white, red, and cream varieties and they are starting to bulb up nicely now. It is the longer days that trigger the plants to form bulbs – ours have definitely had more sunlight lately! You don’t have to wait for the bulbs though; we have been using a few of the onions as spring onions and they have been great in salads.
Our potato plants are also getting quite a good size now and I am planning on mounding the soil up around them over the next few days. This will ensure that the tubers are not exposed to any sunlight. Our potato plants got a bit burnt off by an unexpected light frost a couple of weeks ago but they have recovered now thankfully!
You know you are into spring when you see the strawberry plants flowering. We noticed flowers on our strawberry plants a few days ago and I can’t wait for them to mature. Hopefully in about a month we will be enjoying some sweet home-grown strawberries!
If you would like some more ideas for your October gardening jobs make sure you check out the following links:
October Gardening in Australia:
For my northern hemisphere visitors.
October Gardening in the Northern Hemisphere: