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Planning Retirement Online

 

Gardener's Diary

November

 

An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

 

Previously in The Gardener's Diary...

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012


 

The Gardener's Diary

 

RosemaryI have been gardening now as a hobby for about forty years, but have no formal training.. I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime ... 

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from.. 

Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..

 


Jobs for the month - November

It is time to tidy the garden in preparation for the long winter months, unless you are one of those gardeners who prefers to leave it until the Spring as advocated by the gardening experts. Well there are benefits, for even though it has died back and has blackened foliage, vegetation will create a micro-climate and stop the worst of the frosts from penetrating. Wild life too will be afforded a degree of protection from the cold. I suppose it is the natural way of doing things, but personally I don't like to see dead vegetation overwintering in my garden, even if it does look nice with a sprinkling of frost.

BerriesI prefer to see neat borders, even in the winter. That doesn't mean to say I chop everything that needs pruning to the ground in the Autumn. I am selective, leaving dogwoods and hardy fuschias in particular until the Spring to be pruned. Frost tender plants such as the giant Gunnera can be covered with it's own dead leaves for protection. So, Autumn or Spring, it's a question of choice...

There are still many jobs that need to be done before beginning a spell of "armchair gardening."

Lawns
You can still give the lawn it's Autumn feed until about the middle of November, unless it is frosty of course. I find that the wheeled spreader gets very clogged up when the grass is damp, and it's easier to broadcast the granules by hand in marked out sections.. Remember the subsequent three grass cuttings cannot be used on the compost heap..

Maintenance

  • It is a good time of year for checking out and repairing garden furniture and perhaps giving it a lick of paint, varnish or oil.
  • Commission those landscaping jobs that you may have been thinking about, such as new paths, raised flower beds, or even a pond.
  • Tidy up the greenhouse and shed; if you are anything like me you will have been using them as a dumping ground for all those empty flower pots during the spring and summer.
  • Get the gardening tools cleaned and oiled where necessary. Gardening at this time of year has a special "feel good" factor about it, as we expend a last spurt of energy before several months of lazing around the house getting very little exercise, and over eating...
  • Check the padlock on your shed, because burglars like to do their Christmas shopping about now, and garden sheds are considered fair game.

Safety

  • One job I will never neglect is the sweeping up of leaves, because once left to gather in piles, they will form a slippery mass which will be so dangerous for unsuspecting older bones. We don't bounce like we did when we were younger and can easily break an ankle, or worse a hip..
  • If your paths and driveway are slippery due to ice and frost, sprinkle some rock salt down, which will protect you and your visitors.
  • Do some troubleshooting with a quick check on the trees, boundary walls and fences, roof tiles etc., just to ensure they will all endure possible strong winds.
  • Don't forget to turn the water supply to your hosepipe off.

Winter colourWinter colour
Now the bedding plants are finished, instead of leaving bare borders, re-plant with wallflowers, Cyclamen, Sweet William, polyanthus and pansies, for winter and spring colour. There are some great hanging baskets in the shops, all ready planted up with winter flowering plants which will cheer up the front or back of your house.. Good value for money too!

Seasonal creativity
If you have a graphics programme on your computer, you might consider making Christmas cards from favourite digital photos, and don't forget to start setting aside dried flowers, grasses and twigs ready for making your own Christmas decorations. They will spray beautifully and keep for ages if previously dried...

 



 

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