It’s now October and autumn is very much here. Although there are still warm days there are also the first signs of lower temperatures and a touch of frost to wake up to. Animals and plants are busy preparing for the long winter months, eating and storing provisions ready for the cold.
Your outdoor space will be teaming with activity and will be changing rapidly to the altering conditions. Leaves are a glorious brown colour and the trees have shed many of them, resulting in crunchy flooring. Be sure to sweep these away though to where necessary avoid slippy surfacing.
There will be a race as to who can get to fallen acorns from oak trees: squirrels or jays, which will hide these for the winter. Fungi is now at its peak growing on rotting wood and healthy trees, with the red topped “Fly Agaric” providing a colourful spectacle.
If you’re lucky enough you may spot male red deer (our largest native land animal) battling each other for females. Look out particularly for them in Scotland, Dartmoor, Exmoor and the New Forest. Badgers can also be seen, both in urban areas and the countryside, stocking up on food.
Keep any seed heads from flower boarders as it generates food for insects and birds. Leaves and fallen fruit also provide ideal habitats for insects to thrive. Greenfinches are now returning to garden areas and love seed feeders and hanging peanuts.
In growing areas, the main jobs this month is to clear away the remains summer bedding plants, plant bulbs and prepare non-hardy plants for the first months. With Halloween nearly here Pumpkins can be harvested and left to harden in a sunny and dry location, then store in a cool, dry, dark place.