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Garden View Seasonal Treats

The nights may be getting longer, but produce in the garden is still in abundance. Due to the later start of the season most plants, especial- ly vegetables, got off to a really slow start, but when it did finally warm up in late July it meant the crops came in bumper sized!

The month of October is a colourful one in the garden and the onset of autumn marks the start of the celebra- tions and traditions which unite friends and family and where we can share good times within our community. Take the humble pumpkin for example. Prize winning or not, it’s a fruit which when picked at the beginning of the month and left to ripen in the greenhouse, is perfect for eating, just in time for Halloween.

The act of carving out the pumpkin is a fami- ly event in our house and not a bit goes to waste. The outer skin is used to create a scary face, topped with a pumpkin hat, the flesh from the centre makes amazing soup (if seasoned well) and the seeds can be toasted and sprinkled in the soup or even better onto a loaf of home made bread. A family activity and meal in one…what other fruit offers so much for so little time and effort?

Autumn is the time to tidy up the garden, but don’t think of it as outdoor housework. Put- ting the garden to bed should be an enjoyable task, a time spent alone outside in the brisk fresh air, where you can generate your own warmth through hard work, culminating in a great sense of satisfaction. It’s also an oppor-

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tunity to be creative and plant out winter/spring bedding schemes. If traditional bed- ding is not your cup of tea, and you prefer something a little more ‘Earl Grey’, why not try this. Take a couple of evergreen grasses, a few at- tractive twigs (from the red Cornus or twisted Hazel) and some dried Allium stalks (with heads) and have a go with a little outdoor flower arranging. Then introduce some autumn flowering plants, such as a lovely rust coloured Chrysan-

themum, shocking pink Cyclamen or a more subtle dwarf Aster and you’ll have an impres- sive display to welcome your guests when they come to share in your seasonal treats.

Other jobs to do this month:

 Divide herbaceous perennials and rhubarb crowns by lifting out with a fork and chopping into pieces with a spade. Replant with plenty of well rotted compost or manure

 Plant out spring cabbages and harvest apples, pears and nuts

 Clear up fallen autumn leaves regularly

 Ensure plant pots have good drainage, and consider standing pots on feet

 Pot up tender plants such as Fuchsias and Pel- argoniums and place these in the glasshouse for overwinter protection

Until next month, enjoy your garden! Lee Contact Lee Bestall at

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