Within the first week of October, there are no doubts that Autumn is here - the air is colder, leaves are coming down, the mornings are dark and the heating needs to be used when you rise. The days of blue skies and sunshine that still occur a couple of times a week are now accompanied by a much fresher, colder air.
In a reverse of the traditional growth cycle in the garden, the pampas grass that has lain fallow in the summer suddenly grows up full and proud again, providing a spectacular display for the oncoming winter.
October is a month of preparation - for winter in the putting away of the summer garden furniture and protecting the roots of delicate plants such as clematis with compost mulch, and for spring in the planting of bulbs - crocuses, daffodils and tulips. There is also the chopping down and removal of much of summer’s dead growth from bushes and plants. There is nothing quite so invigorating as an autumn day spent in the garden undertaking these tasks.
The Virginia Creeper that runs along a large expanse of one of our garden fences turns bright red in the last weeks or September and stays so well into October, giving some wonderful Autumn colour. By the end of the month. however, it is gone. The end of the month is also time to trim the long hedgerow that forms one edge of the garden.
So, there goes October, a month that began with the vestiges of late summer just about holding on ends with the dark, gloomy feel of early winter. The clocks have gone back now and it is dark at 4-4.30 pm. The last few days has seen the arrival of light frosts in the early mornings, winter is approaching. It has been very much a month of transition.