By Gordon the Gardener
Let’s start with the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show. Held for the first time at Newby Hall near Ripon, the show was a real success.
The venue was well suited as a show ground in a beautiful setting in the grounds of the hall. I spoke to visitors who really enjoyed it.
Car parking was close by so no buses were needed to get there. Put simply it got the thumbs up all round.
The commercial exhibits were of the usual high standard. One stand that immediately caught my eye before the judging was by Holden Clough Nurseries from near Clitheroe.
The exhibit was of an English garden full of life and colours with a Cretan water urn at its centre creating a magical scene of great beauty.
The head gardener of Holden, John Foley, and his staff were rewarded with not only best in show award but also a premier gold medal.
There was a plethora of dahlias, chrysanthemums, cacti, sweet peas, vegetables and roses, not forgetting giant onions the size of footballs!
The gardens of Newby Hall were a joy to behold, kept to perfection by a great team of professional gardeners.
Huddersfield’s own expert and RHS Harlow Carr medal winner Graham Porter was kept busy all weekend in the Garden Advice Bureau. I was even able to get in a question myself.
It’s been a good year for grapes, my vine growing outside flourished during the heatwaves we had.
Now is the time to plant narcissus bulbs. A general rule of thumb is to plant twice the depth of the bulb and you can’t go wrong.
Spring bulbs, I always think, are the most joyous things to plant in any garden. Once planted they do it all by themselves needing very little attention. They are one of nature’s wonders.
Hold on until November to plant tulips, as planting into still warm soil can set off fungal disease on the bulbs.
Now it’s time to start to pick last crops of runner beans and possibly sow broad beans to overwinter.
Onions should be dried now and ready for store. Any ‘soft’ bulbs should be discarded.
Generally, tidy all beds ready for winter preparation or crops remaining ie leeks, Brussels sprouts, winter cabbage etc.
It’s time for the final picking of fruit. Get them ready to store in cool dry place.
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Dahlias, traditionally, are lifted after they’ve been frosted black, but it can be messy, so I lift them after a moderate first frost. Cut the tops down to 9 inches and turn them upside down to let water run off for a few days. Then they can be stored in a box of layers of vermiculite, taking care that no tuber touches another.
Also now is the time to start lawn preparations scarifying any bare areas and those with heavy thatch – overseed whilst the weather is still warm.
Mid to late October is bare root tree planting time along with fruit bushes, shrubs and rose bushes.
Bare root hedges can now be planted without the need to use containers filled with expensive potting compost. Should make the plants much cheaper.
Plant winter flowering hanging baskets with fragrant herbs, bulbs and winter flowering heather. Better still try Pansy Cool Wave which will flower from October all the way through to next May.
Above all take stock of what’s been successful in any area of the garden so you can plan for next year’s growing.