Garden Tasks by Month | October in Zone 5

 Dear Garden Diary,

What can I say other than "Spectacular! Spectacular!" 

Millions of leaves turning gorgeous shades of blood orange, scarlet, crimson & burnt umber. 



Brightly coloured chrysanthemums and end of summer asters compete hastily with the flashy leaves and airy ornamental grasses for a piece of attention. Everywhere I turn, it is just simply stunning. I only wish this season lasted more than just three or four weeks. 


Fall leaves for raking, gardening tasks for October
A view of the side of our house in October. The changing leaves take center stage.


Between trying to soak it all in and decorating the garden for Halloween, I look forward to my garden tasks now more than ever before. 


Because raking leaves is my favourite thing to do. And after that, sitting out on a crisp, brisk evening and enjoying a cozy bonfire is sheer delight.



What Tasks/ Chores to do in my Garden in October? 
A Garden Maintenance Checklist for Zone 5

Leaf Collection

Time to pull out the rakes and get started with raking up those fallen leaves. Bag them up for compost collection, but not before you've had a chance to jump in the big leaf pile!


Plant Spring Blooming Bulbs

Now is the time to plant spring blooming bulbs like daffodils, tulips, narcissus, hyacinths, snowdrops, alliums etc. Check out my best bulbs to plant for a spring bloom.

Red, pink, yellow tulips with a dragon fly garden ornament
One of my garden beds in April full of tulips. I plant tulip bulbs now in October, for them to bloom in April.


Decorate with Dried Flowers & Leaves

☐  Decorating with dried leaves, grasses and other botanicals is a great way to bring the outdoors in and extend the autumn season a little longer. See a couple of my arrangements and ideas.

Dry flowers like hydrangeas and golden rods and use them to make Fall wreaths for yourself and the neighbours. See how I made my goldenrod wreath.

☐  Maples, gingkos and oaks amongst other trees will start to turn color this month. Dry leaves to create pretty Fall decor. See how I made an easy maple leaf garland and striking autumn leaf suncatchers for my windows.


ceramic Fornasetti plate blue bubble gum, Plate Fornasetti Decoration 6 Inch New Fashion Fornasetti Ceramic Wall Plates Hanging, lady blowing blue bubble gum
One small way I bring the outdoors inside. A small vignette of stunning fall leaves arranged on my mantle.


 Decorate for Halloween

Buy pots of brightly colored mums for the front steps and deck. Alternatively,  just stick the entire pots into the garden beds to introduce pops of color.

Decorate for Halloween with mini haystacks, sheafs of corn, ornamental kale and cabbages and various pumpkins and gourds.

Laughing carved pumpkins in vinca vine
Happy pumpkins in the garden bed.

Lawn Care

Dethatch and Core Aeration

  • This should ideally be done once a year. Schedule a core-aeration, if you didn't do it in Spring. 
  • It should be done when the grass is still actively growing and the weather is not overly wet.
  • Do the screwdriver test, to see if the lawn needs to be aerated. If you cannot push a screwdriver easily into the lawn, the soil is overly compacted and needs to be aerated.

Divide and Plant Perennials

Spring and early summer blooming perennials can be divided and planted this month. Daylilies, peonies, catmint, irises.

Plan for next year

Make rough sketches of the garden (empty spots, places to plant bulbs or move plants to) to help plan for next year.


Sit outside as much as possible and enjoy the garden. This is a wonderful time to light an outdoor fire and enjoy cool, crisp, bug free evenings and watch the rising of humongous harvest moons.

Take plenty of photos of the garden. Compare them over the years and in different seasons to see how the garden has progressed.

See: My garden in 4 seasons

In case you missed it, also see:

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