One sad blow concerns cyclamen corms. 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. Why, I asked Chris Clennett of the Cyclamen Society? He said that it was a fungus that seems to attack corms particularly when wet autumn weather follows dry. No work has been done on the fungus, in terms of discovering a preventive medicine, and it is not mentioned in Christopher Grey-Wilson's book The Genus Cyclamen (Christopher Helm, pounds 13.95). Another illusion shatters. I have planted a small new cyclamen 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 mixed with 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