October is traditionally the start of the gardening year. A time to plan and order new items for forthcoming winter projects. All the seeds have been sorted in the fridge and a top-up order made. We have ordered some great woodland plants for the new Woodland Walk, which will open next spring – gorgeous large leaved and hybrid Rhododendron, Magnolia, Eucryphia and Enkianthus to name but a few. The vegetable plot is being spruced up by widening the main central path and adding an additional cross path. Apple step-overs have been bought and a new Berberis thunbergia Atropurpurea ‘Nana’ hedge is being raised from tip cuttings. This tough little hedge produces electric-pink, new growth a couple of months after each cut and will fit snuggly under the lateral cordon apples. The herbaceous and mixed borders are being strategically renovated this year and new, exciting plants will be making their debut at Glenarm: Amicia zygomeris, Canna iridiflora, Helianthus salicifolius as well as some huge Dahlias – excelsa and campanulata. Tree ferns, ornamental grasses, bamboos and restios will be finding their way into the mixed borders. Exciting new half-hardy stock is being sourced to make new standards for summer display and a range of biennials will be sown this November to carry the display after the Tulip Festival next spring.
Today we pruned our medlar trees Mespilus germanica. Long, straggly growth is cut back, the thinner shoots are pruned harder than the thicker ones in order to equalize the growth next year, so that all the branches are productive. The shortened shoots will ripen in the autumn sun and hopefully the increasing build-up of auxin, near the join of this year’s wood and last, will turn leaf buds into flower buds for next summer.