Get down to earth this November

It’s definitely all change in the garden this month. Now the rain has stopped and we have crisper days, and falling leaves it’s a much prettier and dramatic sight. The trees over the road from my office window are the most gorgeous colours.

There’s plenty to keep us busy in the gardens, when we can get out there. There’s summer bedding to clear away, border perennials to cut down, veg plots to clear and leaves to collect and store for leaf mould which in turn into mulch for feeding the soil.

Often it’s the thought of getting out into the garden in the colder months that deter us from heading out into the garden, but as I found last week, once I was out there I was fine and found plenty to do. Gardening throughout the year brings many benefits, including keeping us active in the fresh air. Direct contact with soil has been shown to be valuable to our mental health and wellbeing. Research has demonstrated the value of ‘earthing’ or ‘grounding’ in alleviating health problems, relieving stress and improving our mood and restful sleep.

So according to the research, getting dirty in the garden could be just what we need! And confirm what I think we already know, that gardening is great therapy.

Plants of the moment

Autumn is a good time for planning and planting, establishing plants into warm soil before the real onset of winter. Large patio pots, tubs, troughs and baskets can also be planted with a selection of evergreen, flowering and berrying plants to provide colour and interest over the colder months ahead.

Many bare-rooted plants are only available from the autumn and they offer great value for hedging and planting projects.

Look out for:

  • Skimmia varieties

  • Cyclamen

  • Mahonia

  • Vibernum

  • Dogwoods and

  • Heathers.

Gardening is good for you

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My garden in October

I know, just like buses. There’s no in my garden post for a while, then in two weeks you get two. Most of these pictures though were taken on two trips out into the garden, although when I was out there this weekend I was wondering why we’d not been out there more (wasp incident aside).

Our mini cyclamen have gone into overdrive. When they flower they’re quite pretty, and actually the leaves are pretty spectacular too, so that’s not such a bad thing. MOH gave the lawn its final cut this weekend, and a couple of cyclamen also got the chop, as is his want.

cyclamen overload

The cyclamen isn’t the only one with pretty leaves, the heucheras are also getting in on the act. This is one of the many plants I’ve acquired from dad which are all going strong, and all very purple.

sunlight on purple leaves

I’ve had a bit of a light catastrophe though. I hadn’t managed to bring them in before all the rain started. It turns out these “shades” were paper, and very popular with the snails. Whoops.

garden lights attacked by snails

The shades went, but the lights still work. I’m sure I’ll find a use for them in the garden next year. I say next year as our garden’s being put to bed now. Now that the wooden garden furniture is finally dry, it’s under the tarpaulin along with the metal table and chairs. We’ve still to move the pots into more sheltered places, but hopefully the frosts are a little way off.

putting the garden furniture to bed

At the back of the garden I was pleased to see my new sage plant thriving. And even the sage I thought was on its last legs is doing well too, a bit leggy but still full of sage. I’m thinking I’ll harvest some and freeze them so they’re on hand over the winter when I’m even less likely to want to head out into the garden in search of herbs.

My sage is thriving

I’m a sucker for ferns and luckily they grow on part of our wall. I’m forever (or it seems like it) sticking them into pots, and it’s always nice to see when they survive and grow into proper sized plants. MOH isn’t a fan of these ferns, but slowly I’m winning him round to the whole free plants thing.

ferns, all the fern love

See, more ferns. The larger leaves are Lords and Ladies, the ones with the orange “hand grenade” as MOH calls them. He’s got alternative names for most things, some of which I can share here.

lords and ladies

There’s still some summer bedding plants in flower. These geraniums over-wintered last year and are still providing some colour, though the pale pink looks more washed out than it did previously.

some colourful geraniums

In the greenhouse the lights are drying out, usually I’d bring them into the conservatory but this year they’re a bit too mucky.

garden lights stored for the winter

Nearer the house there’s more colour than we usually have at this time of the year. There’s a lot of berries on the pyracantha which I discovered and uncovered last year. Which when you think about it is quite worrying, we’ve lived here since 2002!

orange berries on the pyracantha

The fatsia continues to be a favourite plant in our garden, and one completely unknown to us before we moved here, but still a plant I’d have in future gardens. At the moment it’s preparing to “flower” - and it looks quite brain-like, don’t you think?


Get in touch with nature this October

The theme for this month’s post is the wildlife in our gardens. It’s estimated that in Britain our millions of gardens cover around 10 million acres, which is bigger than all of the country’s nature reserves combined. Viewed from the air you must be able to see how they create green corridors, providing wildlife with a range of habitats and the ability to move from one area to another to feed, breed, shelter and hibernate.

What we do to our gardens can encourage, or discourage, local birds and wildlife; planting flowering meadows for butterflies and insects, hedges for nesting birds, and blossom and blooms throughout the year to attract bees, butterflies and insects.

The idea is to get planting to create a wildlife-friendly garden and reap the benefits of surrounding ourselves with nature. Though right now, at the start of the month, I think we could be all be benefitting from additional water features.

Plants with nature in mind

Choose plants with fruits, berries and seedheads, including pyracantha, skimmia japonica, ornamental grasses, such as stipa and ornamental garden trees like rowan and crab apple.

And late flowering plants for late flying insects, which include asters, japanese anemones, chyrsants, ivy and mahonia.

Callicarpa Profusion AGM © Adam Pasco Media

Callicarpa Profusion AGM © Adam Pasco Media


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