The month of October offered prelude to the changing season and now autumn is upon us. Already the air carries the scent of aging decline, tumbled leaves litter the garden and there is a dampness to everything. I have already spent a good amount of time cleaning up. I think that the warmth and wet of the early season made for some luxuriant growth as I can’t really see where the leaves have come from. The month ahead is going to be busy.
Apart from the cleaning up, November is a good planting month, especially if you need bare root items. There will hedging about shortly and in a state of near dormancy it will transplant smoothly. Formal and informal stock is about, with everything from native field plants, like hawthorn and maple to beech, and laurel. Soft fruit is about too, with I suspect many looking for raspberries, which generally have performed well again this year. And blueberries, which seem to have had big television exposure. Modern varieties do very well actually and can be grown in containers. Blueberries will prefer a slightly acidic condition, so consider using some ericaceous compost or in season a suitable feed. Roses too are about now and for many centres, offered for the first time since the lockdown. In the vegetable garden you can still be planting onions, garlic and shallots as well as rhubarb crowns. The shallots enjoy the cold, which encourages early division, delivering good clumps of bulbs in the spring. If you have not put in some overwintering broad beans, your hesitation has delivered you to the perfect moment. For the purposes of overwintering broad beans are best sown between the last week of October and the second week of November. Sown earlier you can end up with stalky plants before Christmas which will not enjoy cold weather. If you can offer some shelter then winter lettuce and oriental vegetables are also worth a go.
On the flower front, get cracking and lift any bedding that you may wish to over winter, Pelargoniums, Begonias and Dahlias are salvageable ahead of the frost. They can be allowed to dry and then will need storing in a shed, garage or greenhouse. Or can be potted to bring late colour inside.
And finally there is still time to pop in some over wintering bedding and bulbs, but you need to get a move on. Buy big plants in pots or 6 packs to ensure winter resilience.