Less suddenly came the darkness? Was it just me or were the evenings really surrendering themselves to the night way before the clocks changed? October seemed like a dark month. There were some hot spots, but by three the sun was racing towards the horizon and now winter steps up.
It has been an interesting year, plenty of pests and diseases, some fat pigeons and overall a disappointing harvest. There has been strong vegetative growth, but flower and fruit development has been poor.
The gardens are tired and in need of repair, with leaves and rubbish to gather, some light pruning to set plants to order and a tie or two to hold up others. Of course we can also be planting, good containerised fruit and ornamental trees are around and they will cope with transfer. Many will need a stake to secure them and providing that happens they will settle and romp away in the spring. Bare root hedging and soft fruit will also be on offer in the coming days. This material offers an easy and very cheap way to create a boundary. You should be able to pick up Privet, Beech and Laurel if your need is for ornamental subjects, but native plants including Hawthorn, Maple and Hazel should also be available. Bare root is also the way to buy Raspberries and canes for all seasons from late spring to autumn are around. Most garden centres still have bulbs and as usual there are plenty of Pansies. The days are marching on so do get on with decorative planting. You’ve just about got time to push in onions, shallots and garlic too.
Then it is back to that tidying. Take a wander around trouble shooting, tender plants and tubers need lifting if they are to be saved, so that’s dahlias, begonias large flowering fuchsias and anything exotic or continental. Just lift them in get them undercover. If in doubt ask for advice or just do it, there may not be a second chance. Bait the shed, disinfect the greenhouse and check your heating and insulation if you have a greenhouse or conservatory. And finally, the lists and catalogues will be out soon, new seeds, new plants and new adventures. As it gets ever more difficult to choose presents for people who just seem to buy what they need when they need it, seeds make a great gift.