What to do
Continue to pick tomatoes, which have had a damp time this season. I've had good reports from friends of 'Pannovy' (Simpson's Seeds, £1.80 or £7.50 for six plants). Masses of fruit, they say, and a superb taste. They have made fabulous tomato soup with them.
Lawn seed can be sown now on areas that have been well dug, raked and cleared of stones and debris. The soil is still warm and moist which will encourage seed to germinate and grow. Sown now, it will still have time to establish roots before frost strikes and the ground cools down.
Cut back the dying stems of herbaceous perennials and compost them. Do not cut back penstemons. These should be left until March. Cutting back now will encourage fresh young growth which will most likely be clobbered by frost.
What to see
Few things live longer than we do, which is why ancient trees command respect. The Victorian diarist, Francis Kilvert marvelled at the "grey, gnarled, low browed, knock kneed, bent, huge, strange, long armed, deformed, hunchbacked, misshapen oaks" growing in Moccas Park, Herefordshire, in 1876 and Dr Owen Johnson's 'Champion Trees of Britain and Ireland' lists many more. The Woodland Trust has published a series of pamphlets about ancient trees, including ones dealing with climate change. Visit ancient-tree-forum.org.uk.Reuse content