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Gardener's Diary November 2006


Sixty seventh edition -  November 2006 


Create Compost: Green Essentials - Organic Guides

We are all encouraged these days to compost our kitchen and garden waste, but there are still many of us that haven't a clue how to begin making a compost heap, or what we can put on it.. Perhaps this will help: making a compost heap  

Our rising temperature is bringing many new visitors, not all of them welcome.. I recently read in my paper about this little newcomer which has taken advantage of our warmer climate to breed in the south of England... This summer we also saw (in the Midlands) several humming bird moths and although the moths themselves were a fairly dull colour and shape, their antics were spectacular..

Many people seem to suffer from the winter blues or SAD, to give it the official name  .. I aim to get outside for at least an hour each day, either pottering in the garden or walking in the nearby countryside with the dogs... It's very therapeutic, especially when tramping through the fallen leaves in the forest .. It does help and it is many years since I felt gloomy in the winter months.


But back to gardening!


Fallen leaves

Sweep the leaves up or use a garden vac for the job, then put them in black bin liners tucked away in a utility corner of your garden.. You'll find after a year or so they will have rotted down to make wonderful leafmould for the garden.

Paths and drives

Keep paths and drives free of piles of wet soggy leaves and slippery moss, not just for your own sake, visitors will appreciate you being considerate of their safety too..


Have a look at the trees on your property... Are they safe? Is strong wind or heavy snow likely to topple any of them over or break a branch off.. If in any doubt get a professional in to check them out or make a repair...

Have you checked the stakes and ties of newly planted trees lately? Trees put on girth so rapidly that they can soon become strangled by tight ties that dig into their bark.



RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers (RHS)

This is a great time of year for moving plants and shrubs.. Make a list of what you want to move and work your way through it... First, dig up and discard plants you no longer want, then move the ones that have become cramped into the cleared spaces... Try to include the complete root system when you dig them up and don't forget to water them in if there is a dry spell.. If they are fairly large shrubs, stake them for one season to prevent strong winds blowing them over...

Other borders should be tidied up by pruning the dead wood off shrubs, cutting down perennials and throwing away remaining summer bedding, which seems to be flowering forever this year.. It's a matter of choice whether you cut down plants in the autumn or leave them until the spring.. As a general rule, I cut down hardy  plants leave the tender perennials until the spring because they will form a micro-climate which will protect them from the worst of the frosts..

Give the borders a hoe to freshen them up and get rid of any lingering weeds.



Don't feed your fish any more this season and ensure that any ice is cleared to allow your fish to get the oxygen they require.. Want your pond professionally cleaned?Or   made safe for young visiting children?



An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty 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..


Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



The Yellow Book: NGS Gardens Open for CharityRHS gardens

Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-


Do you take advantage of the BBC Gardening website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new and any special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



Visit the Eden Project




The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...



Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 


Some of your emails are not getting through to me; please read below:

**  Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming

Please tell me which country you live in as knowing the climate can help me solve your problem. Your current email address is necessary as my replies are occasionally returned to me as undeliverable.. PLEASE TITLE YOUR EMAIL 'GARDEN QUERY' OTHERWISE IT IS LIKELY TO BE PUT IN THE SPAM FOLDER BY MY ISP **



Useful reading:-

"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

Amazon book - A year at Kew  Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden Amazon book - RHS Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS) Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)
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