Tofino Gardening in October 2005
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
October's gardening can be either good, bad, or ugly, and the weather will determine witch, get it?
October, Halloween, witch. Okay enough of the bad puns. Anyway, regardless, there are still lots of things need doing around the garden in October. Seasonal decorating with plants that are at their best such as mums, and they come in a wide range of colours, from white to deep oranges and plums. Fall and winter pansies, and asters to name a few.
Making planters for a bright spot by the door is easy using plants such as lavender, heuchera, winter pansies, kale and mums. Living wreaths can be put together with semperviviums and sedums.
Even putting a small tree in a pot by the door and decorating it with mini lights can add some sparkle.
As summer baskets fade, remember to clean them out and store them for the winter in a dry spot. Any tools that are done for the season can be cleaned and oiled and put away as well. Pull and store any tender summer bulbs, such as Dahlias, Gladiolas, and Begonias etc. As well lift tender geraniums that you may want to winter over. Keep rose bed free and clear of any debris, and gardens and lawns free of leaves, to help eliminate any bugs and disease that may winter over.
Even though it's October there is still plenty of time to plant spring blooming bulbs, such as Daffodils and Tulips, my favourite is in pots by the front door, I throw in bunches of Cedar Boughs, Alder twigs and Salal for Christmas, and then leave them in while the Bulbs are blooming, and this provides some support for them in the Spring, when the winds can blow them over, or the rain drags their heads down.
Move Christmas cactus into a brighter spot, and start to water a little more frequently, to get them to bloom in time for Christmas. And around mid October to the beginning of November plant Amaryllis bulbs for a showy display during the Holiday season.
Slow down feeding pond fish both in frequency and quantity, and clean up any overgrown water plants.
One of the things I've noticed this year more than others is the number of different pests, both in quantity and variety, and I can understand this, because of the different types of plants being brought to this area. As a precaution, when the timing is right a dormant oil spray is recommended, to help protect your trees and shrubs from become pest ridden.
As I start to decorate the inside of the Gift Store for the Fall, I'm laying out in my mind how to place my bulbs for spring, and how to decorate the yard for Halloween this year, and I think the garden will be lit in tea lights, with the 7 1/2 foot spider webs that came in, as well as the 3 foot wide spiders and 5 foot tall witches (and no it will not be me in a costume).
Happy gardening and may all things coming out of the ground this Halloween not be zombies don't get too spooked.
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino