Gardener’s Blog – October 2015

As the nights draw darker and the climate becomes cooler, Birmingham Botanical Gardens is aglow with rich autumn colours as the leaves begin to fall from the trees. After a busy September, our gardeners are now focusing on autumn and spring displays.

This month Chris and her team will be planting out the rest of the bulbs, particularly vibrant tulips. It’s also important for our team to remove leaves from borders and lawns to prevent the spread of overwintering pests.

Nothing goes to waste though as they will be put into compost bays to create a soil conditioner for next year. Last year’s composted leaves will be spread on our bulbs in the Winter Border to create the ideal growing conditions.

Compost is also made from our grass cuttings, the old bedding plants and general green waste. This will be distributed around the garden in October to add vital nutrients back into the soil.

The lawns will be edged and tidied and the gardeners will also be reseeding bare areas, so please be aware of the fenced off areas to allow for our lawns to recover.

Highlights for October include the Liquidamber and Liriodendron trees as they start to change colour; vivid Asters in the Herbaceous Border and the Fothergilla major as it turns bright yellow.

As for our glasshouses, it’s an exciting time of year as we have now reopened our Mediterranean Glasshouse. Thanks to the kind donations from our members, associates and visitors who have supported our Glasshouse Appeal, we’ve been able to restore it to its former glory. The refurbished glasshouse will be filled with citrus plants, Pelargoniums and Chrysanthemums to name just three.

Chris will move the lupins and delphiniums from the terrace to various areas in the gardens to help them recover from the glasshouse refurbishment work. They will show their full potential in the trail areas.

As for our head gardeners Chris and Wayne’s personal favourites, Chris suggests you see Nerine bowdenii in Cameron Walk. The spider-like flowers produce a strong scent, which reminds her of her old Sindy doll from childhood. The pink lily-like blooms have curved petals in autumn and creates a swathe of pink.

As for Wayne, his favourite plant of the month is the Dwarf Cavendish banana in the Tropical House. It is now in fruit and can produce up to 90 bananas! They’re often referred to as banana trees even though they aren’t trees. They are in fact the largest herbaceous plant in the world!

Remember to take photographs of all of your October discovers on your next trip to the gardens and tweet them to @bhambotanicalgd.