Each month’s musings begin as the last, a confounded outpouring as once again the shape of seasons is disrupted. Once upon a time, we would catch a couple of big frosts at the end of September and would set about repairing and replanting, removing bedding plants that had performed all summer long. Today those bedding plants are still holding on. I have busy lizzies and geraniums under my porch still showing good colour. In sharp contrast, many summer vegetables surrendered early. I think that Runner beans had the shortest run ever, with the dry summer really knocking them about. Of all the vegetables the cherry tomatoes have been my most successful. A name to note for next year is the variety Romello, which has been both prolific and tasty. The return of a drop of rain served to revive and boost some things and certainly under the protective canopy of netting the autumn and winter greens all like fleshy and promising. As we move on into December, there are still a few bits to tackle. Bulbs can still go in and the firm bulbs like crocus and tulips will certainly deliver for next spring. Broad bean seeds will still germinate for over wintering and if you have a bit of protected (though not necessarily heated) space, then winter lettuce is worth the trouble. If you can find them, then a few plants will give you a head start, or alternatively kick off a bit seed on a windowsill. Arctic King and Winter Density are both quite reliable. This month you can continue to plant bare root plants too, with raspberry canes and bare root hedging still in plentiful supply. With plants having moved into dormancy, this is not a bad month for pruning. The guidance is to prune modestly, with the intention of restoring order, so vigorous plants like climbing roses and wisteria can be brought to heel, as can many shrubs.
Try to keep on top of the fallen leaves, rake them off from lawns and borders, either putting to the compost heap or bagging to gently break down. I have just tipped a barrow full into the bottom of two planters. The leaf mould will be greatly enjoyed by my spring planting.
And finally, explore the seed catalogues and plant lists for 2023. As always, new adventures await and there some real delights to be discovered.