OCTOBER is always a beautiful month of autumnal colours and probably delivers the first frosts. So, with the weather next week looking like there might be some crisp, but bit chilly, blue-sky days it is the perfect time to tidy up and cut back in the garden.

I’ve been very busy at Driftwood. All hedges have now been trimmed and look quite smart. All the boundary areas were done by a local company a couple of weeks ago, so I’m almost there with my winter preparations. There are just a few small jobs of cutting back and then I can start to finalise the storage of plants for the winter, under cover in my side alley that has a Perspex roof.

If you grow fruit and vegetables, there’s still plenty to harvest and store for the cold winter months ahead. I’ve picked all my fruit now and poached and stored in the freezer to enjoy through the winter months. It’s only a couple of weeks until the clocks go back and then it will really seem like winter is here.

We are all certainly going to find any form of isolation these next few months a little more challenging, with not being able to use the garden as a sanctuary due to the cold and the long dark nights closing in on us.

One job coming up for me, when I see the temperatures start to drop, is to fleece some of the delicate plants that are planted in the ground. The winds were so severe last winter that many of my fleeces were badly shredded, which has meant investing in a brand-new set for this season. I plan to fleece the smaller palms once we have warnings of high winds as they will help prevent damage to the fronds. Left uncovered, they get really bad wind and salt burn.

Another job I’ve undertaken this last week is to sweep up all fallen leaves which can harbour fungal spores and provide ideal hiding places for slugs and snails. This has required me to move out all heavy containers and get behind them too, back breaking work.

I’ve removed virtually all my annuals now as they had all gone over. Earlier in the year I purchased some gazania “Tiger Stripes” and they have been pretty stunning. What’s more, they are still going strong. I have two tall urns on one of the patios and planted both with them. The flowers are so stunning. What’s more they have flowered continuously for weeks and are likely to continue until the first frosts hit.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk