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Planning Retirement Online

Gardener's Diary           November

Gardener`s Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin, who is semi retired.  She says anyone can enjoy gardening whether they have a large or small garden, can`t tell a dandelion from a daisy, or are aged 9 or 90… Here you will be able to see what jobs you should be doing in the garden month by month, get ideas for spectacular seasonal planting schemes, read previews on new plants and products, find out where to buy them, and get up-to-date news of forthcoming events and places to visit. 


For those of you that have never dabbled in the "black art" of gardening you will first need to get some basic knowledge from a good gardening book. You will find some within this article as examples...


But first an introduction from Rosemary...


I have been gardening now for about thirty years, long enough for my husband to know that it`s wise to bury his head in a newspaper when I get the secateurs out...  I don`t have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice but I also think the modern trends work well. Plants in my garden have to be resilient as they get moved around frequently, and my husband has been heard  to mutter  “I don`t remember that tree being there this morning..”

Hobbies have come and gone over the years but only gardening has endured, and now in retirement this column adds a new dimension to the hobby, 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



Nineteenth edition  - November 2002

What a difference a few weeks makes.. Biting wind, rain, fog, frosts, and for those of you who live in the most northerly part of our island, the first snowfalls of the winter. My husband reminds me it is only just over four weeks since we had a picnic in the shade to keep cool! The cold damp weather does have the effect of making one want to stay indoors in the warm and partly because of this, I am reluctant to go outside and cut down all the plants that are still flowering their heads off. The garden remains a riot of colour, with perfect Delphiniums in full bloom along with a host of other out-of-season flowers.  Things will get tucked up for winter, just a little later than normal.  

  • As you pull out the bedding plants that are finished, re-plant with wallflowers, Sweet William, polyanthus and pansies.

  • One job I will never neglect - I know I keep on about it - is the sweeping up of leaves on an almost daily basis. 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 you have a graphics programme on your computer, and a scanner, consider making Christmas cards from favourite 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...  

  • Another Autumn job is checking that all the garden furniture is put away securely in your shed. Check the padlock too, because burglars like to do their christmas shopping about now, and garden sheds are considered fair game.

  • Finally, do some troubleshooting with a quick check on the trees, boundary walls and fences, roof tiles etc., just to ensure they will all endure any possible strong winds. Don`t forget to turn the water supply to your hosepipe off..

There are some lovely things to buy as usual in the latest Thompson & Morgan catalogue and I am busy choosing some seeds for next year. I don`t buy too many seeds as I save most of mine from the current year`s flowers, but after a few years, often the stock will need renewing, as the plants may start to produce weak, infertile and often empty seed pods. I wrote about harvesting and storing seed in September. For the last two years the seeds I have saved from my red Castor Oil plants, have produced inferior plants, so this year I shall buy new seeds. Also I like to grow something new each year.. Thompson & Morgan usually do a Christmas gift offer and this year it is a basket of traditional scented hyacinths, delivered boxed and with a personal message for the recipient. All this for only 5.99 when you place an order from their 2003 catalogue - that`s no hardship!   

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming 



Some websites of interest to gardeners:- 


Alan Titchmarsh MBE, TV gardener, writer, broadcaster and thoroughly nice person. Just a few choice words to describe the peoples` favourite TV gardener. See his website....



Thompson and Morgan: 


A growing resource for gardeners worldwide. The site includes the international online seed catalogues, the young plants catalogue (UK only), the wholesale seeds catalogue, together with the award winning Germination Times and a host of other useful information.


Gardening 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. 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.






Good 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

RHS Garden Finder is 12.99 from Dorling Kindersley



Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary




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