Linda Hodgetts from the Portishead Horticultural Society writes, with some helpful gardening tips for October...

Alan Titchmarsh recently admitted that he finds it hard to relax and enjoy his garden, as all too often when he sits down, he spots something to do.

I know exactly what he means as I also find it difficult to appreciate mine as I often get distracted by something which needs attention.

Whilst I may struggle to relax and appreciate my garden, one way of enjoying it is to take photographs at various times throughout the year. This serves two purposes.

I can share the photographs with my gardening friends as I don't get many visitors but, more importantly, it also provides me with an opportunity to admire the garden and make a note to change something which I think has not worked.

Whilst the gardening year is drawing to an end, there are still things to do. If you have not already done it, you need to lift tender species like begonias, cannas and dahlias before the first frosts arrive.

Cut back the stems and lift the tubers from the ground, clean off the soil and store in trays of dry compost or sand and store in a frost-free place.

I usually deadhead my hydrangea this month, although I know some say that you should leave the heads.

There is no right or wrong way to do it, it is all down to personal preference. Some gardeners cut everything back to leave a clear border, whilst others leave plants to encourage wildlife.

It is certainly a good idea to leave at least one area in the garden untidy as you might be lucky enough to get a hedgehog to hibernate.

If you have any well-rotted compost in your bins, you should spread this around your garden now as it can provide a protective mulch. If the compost is not ready, then give it a good turn. You might also want to add some Garotta to the bin to speed up the composting process.

North Somerset Times: Thanks to the birds three large sunflowers popped up in the border

My bird feeding station is topped up daily with fat balls and I love seeing the various birds visiting the station – although to be honest, I am not too keen on the pigeons.

I don't know if anyone else has noticed but the birds are definitely selective. I have found that the best and most popular fat balls are the premium ones from Home Bargains as they are packed with sunflower seeds and the birds seem to love them.

This year, thanks to the birds I have had the good fortune of having three large sunflowers popping up in the border. The flowers are enormous, and the bees absolutely loved them.

Whilst I may be cutting some things back, I intend to leave these for the birds.

Now is also the time to plant up your spring bulbs, particularly if you are looking for early flowers.

There are so many daffodils to choose from, it just depends on when you want them to flower, what height you want and if you like fragrance. The Horticultural Society members' selection for the 2024 Spring Show is Tete a Tete and Jetfire – so get planting!