I’ve just had a short break in “Sunny Hunny” in Norfolk - and it was sunny too! Looking around, there is evidence in the gardens of the gales that, coupled with high tides, so nearly led to flooding. Many of the plants have suffered ‘salt scorch’ and look awful but they will recover because they have been chosen to withstand the local conditions, and it reminded me how important it is to choose your plants with regard to their situation.
We have some useful sheets entitled “Plants for a Purpose” and if you would like one appropriate to your garden let me know your details and I will gladly forward it. The range covers area, soil type, sun, shade, wet, dry, low growing, tall growing, climbers and plants for baskets and containers. We do also offer a garden planning service locally, but if you are out of our area we can work from measurements, simple sketches and photographs. Please call for more information.
Talking of gales, following last week’s we have had the usual calls to replace damaged fences, and I always urge replacement with closeboard fencing rather than panels. It is so much stronger, looks better and costs little more. Do remember to erect it over gravel boards to prevent rot spreading upwards. Consider whether you really do need a fence, hedges are more attractive, cheaper, do not blow over, require little maintenance and can be great security.
Talking of planting, we have a saying in the trade “Autumn is Nature’s time for Planting”, and if you think about it, it is the time when all the seeds are distributed for the following year and farmers plant their hardy crops knowing that they will have the best start. Before the container revolution and the availability of pot grown plants all year round, ‘field grown’ or ‘bare root’ trees, shrubs and perennials were only available to gardeners through the winter months, and it is still a good time to buy these plants.
Many Nurseries like ourselves are having a sale at the moment to clear last season’s stock and make way for the new spring stock. Our sale is particularly good value with selected trees, shrubs, roses and conifers at “two for the price of one”, but hurry, there’s only one week left.
You will remember earlier in the summer I advised contemplating your borders (over a nice drink!) to decide where there are gaps to fill and changes to make. Well now is the time to act and to plant now will provide an extra 4 months of establishment time and cut down some of the need for watering next summer.
I hope your dead heading and feeding is still providing lots of summer colour, but eventually we shall have some frost and many plants will die back. Remember to mark your perennials with a cane so as not to hoe them up before they re-emerge next spring. I have potted up some winter pansies into 2 litre pots so they will be good size plants by the time the summer flowering annuals die off and I shall have an instant effect with their happy smiling faces during the dark days of winter.
Now is a good time to cut all hedges, particularly evergreens, before we have severe frost, but do leave those with berries until the birds have stripped them. Now there’s some moisture in the ground, plant bulbs to give you that blaze of colour in the spring - miniature narcissi can be an interesting addition to baskets and containers - but daffodils can look very messy whilst they die back and are best at the back of borders or around trees. Well enjoy the Indian Summer while it lasts - it could be very different when I write November’s Ramblings