Friday, October 29, 2004

1st-7th November (diary)

Soon we will plunge ourselves into cold shadows,
And all of summer's stunning afternoons will be gone.
I already hear the dead thuds of logs below
Falling on the cobblestones and the lawn.

All of winter will return to me:
derision, Hate, shuddering, horror, drudgery and vice,
And exiled, like the sun, to a polar prison,
My soul will harden into a block of red ice.

- Charles Baudelaire, Autumn Song

This is the start of autumn for me, and the beginning of the new gardening season with catalogues dropping through the door daily I will have some reading to do on wet days. The trouble is KID IN A SWEET SHOP comes into play and the choice of next year garden purchases are endless, Do I buy the NO MORE SLUGS magic powder for the Hosters or the 5 dollar money tree on e-bay for me, No I will wait and be happy with what I have, My best buys have been at flower shows a client of mine made me order 10 blue moon roses from Chelsea 6 years ago, They arrived at ‘this time’ as bare rooted plants then the blue rose line was lost and this new disease resistant type was to bring them back into gardens worldwide, I still remember opening this package with advanced excitement only to discover 10 dead looking twigs. However they were planted and from the next year on provided all the admiration you would expect, they are now in every seed catalogue you get your hands on.

Colds and flues
this year I have faithfully taken extra vitamin C Fish oils and keep myself busy, And so far the winter darkness has stayed at arms length. As a worker reliant on the season’s elements I find from now till Christmas not as bad as the rest of the winter. But you have to expect the worst. Here in the UK we have had rain most of the week and the gardens have turned into marsh land, Its not a good idea to do anything in the garden with these conditions however I have to get the pennies in, So clearing leaves has been something of a routine this week. But I have to always be on the look out for the right conditions to start digging, (sooner the better). I like to dig on a cold frosty morning when all the leaves have gone just turning over the vegetable patch is enough leaving large clumps of earth that will be broken down over winter by frost, I will add at least one barrow load of compost and manure per 4 rows dug.

The beautiful unfashionable ones.

These are the flower of November and I have been using them for the last few years, Very easy to grow and left in over winter a forgotten and stunning plant with a colour range to match anything that will brighten up the dullest November day.

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)
Go and buy one to plant now.
I hated these for a long time and bought them as token gifts for Christmas, then I saw an instillation at Tate Britain that featured these plants, I was hooked! Plant them up and start them off on the top of a radiator you will have flowers at Christmas.

Cortaoleria selloana (pampas grass)
I noticed one of these last week swaying outside a friends bay window It seemed to be part of her front room and matched the interior, masking out the busy street it looked great, a classic right plant for the right place.

Bulb theft
There are increased reports of bulb theft! To stop these put nuts out in piles this will keep the bulbs and bird food in your garden and the squirrels happy.

You can continue to plant bulbs right up to December and on wet days look through the seed catalogues a recommendation is EDWIN TUCKER this is a fantastic one to look up lots of old varieties organic and non. (E-mail: also on the net.
NOTE: If you are having a bonfire check for wildlife before you light it.

Here are some photos of this week including a beautiful Cyclamen and the conker some more photos are due to be out on Tuesday.

Photographs and text copyright 2004 andrew stenning


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