Many annual or biennial plants have reached the end of their cycle: let’s eliminate them and prepare the pots for winter storage. To be able to reuse them safely, it is a good idea to remove all the soil, wash the inside with a wire brush (if made of terracotta) and disinfect them (bleach is ideal).
There are still many plants in full splendor, some for the blooms, others for the foliage. Among the first ones, we point out dahlias, chrysanthemums, aster, Japanese anemones, crocus and autumn colchics. Remarkable for the foliage with warm shades are many maples, some shrubby peonies and hydrangeas (especially quercifolia). It is important to remember to irrigate them, especially after hot days.
A very sunny exposure, moreover, prolongs the vegetative period as well as making the colors more intense.
Preparing for winter
In the northern regions it is time to prepare winter shelters for plants. Good results can be obtained with the special greenhouses if we can place them next to a wall in the south and do not live in particularly rigid areas. In any case, the location must guarantee a minimum temperature of around 5 °C (for semi-rustic specimens) and a discreet illumination. For the suffruticose (geraniums, petunias…) it is good to prune drastically to avoid the onset of rottenness.
When the cold arrives, reduce the irrigation and suspend the fertilization.
Essences of tropical origin (like many indoor plants) should be transferred to a room with minimum temperatures never below 10°C.
For rustic plants (grasses or shrubs) we recommend gradually reducing the water supply, cleaning them of dryness and withered inflorescences. Ornamental plants are also an exception in winter (berry shrubs, hydrangeas, grasses).
Maintenance of furniture and surfaces
The cold season is the most difficult for furniture and flooring: persistent humidity and snow can put them to the test. Wooden furniture is best maintained if we apply a coat of impregnating agent or linseed oil before repairing it for the winter. Metal ones, on the other hand, must be protected from oxidation: let’s check that they are healthy. If there are any small defects, we use a rust converter and a special enamel: we will prevent the problem from getting worse.
We also intervene in the same way on railings and other structural elements.
For floors, especially if they are old and worn, it is possible to intervene with special waterproofing products to be applied by brush: they facilitate the outflow of water, preventing it from penetrating into the microcracks.
Balconies and terraces in October: Preparing for the New Year
October, also thanks to the still pleasant climate, is ideal for setting the new vintage. First of all, in the South or if we have a small greenhouse, we can devote ourselves to sowing perennials and biennials: in spring they will be ready to bloom. With the branches that we get from the cleaning of the shrubs we try to make woody cuttings: they will have all winter to root.
Perennial herbaceous plants can also be divided: good results are obtained especially where winters are not humid.
It is also time to prepare the pots with bulbs to force, to have beautiful Christmas blooms, at home: they lend snowdrops, crocus, hyacinths and daffodils. It is also time to plant the geophytes that will bloom from February to April.