Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Gardener's Diary 

                            November   2007


Seventy ninth edition -  November 2007 

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. I 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... 

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..

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


  • 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.. 


  • 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.


  • 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 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...  

A few good ideas for lasting Christmas presents for your garden-loving relatives or friends:

  • A years subscription to a gardening magazine 

  • A gardening book from 

  • Secateurs or other garden hand tools 

  • Bird feeders and Seed

  • Gardening gloves

  • Gift voucher for a garden centre

  • Terracotta pots

  • Decorative house name or number: 

  • Garden ornaments

Check out Maggi Stamp's Garden News


Happy gardening till next month....


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:-


RHS Flower Shows 2007


Tickets for RHS members

Privilege rate tickets are available for RHS members to all RHS shows, but tickets must be booked in advance. Click on the individual show links below for further information.
RHS members are not charged a booking fee for tickets purchased except for advanced tickets to the Malvern shows. To find out how to become an RHS member click here


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. 




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)
back to laterlife interest

Site map and site search



Advertise on