ONE SAD blow concerns Cyclamen coum. I had always thought of these as bomb-proof as far as disease is concerned, but discovered that the corms filling one whole patch had disintegrated into a hideous pulp. Chris Clennett, of the Cyclamen Society, said it was a fungus that seems to attack corms particularly when wet autumn weather follows dry. No work has been done on working out a preventative medicine for the fungus and it is not mentioned in Christopher Grey-Wilson's monograph The Genus Cyclamen (Christopher Helm, pounds 13.95). Another illusion shatters. I have planted a small new colony in a different place.
USE BUCKETFULS of raked-up leaves to provide insulation for slightly tender shrubs and perennials. I heap them round Melianthus, for instance, and pack them into and around a big clump of arum lilies. On the bank where the ground is now cleared between shrubs and ground cover, leaves go on as a top mulch and gradually get pulled down to lighten our heavy, clay soil. Burning leaves is a waste of good humus.
PERENNIALS SUCH as herbaceous geraniums and polygonums should be cut back and top-dressed with sieved compost and bonemeal.
NOVEMBER IS a good month for adding long-term sustenance to the soil.
YOU CAN also cut back the old leaves of lenten hellebores and top-dress the clumps before the new buds and leaves begin to show.Reuse content