Weekend work: Time to tend to tender shrubs and perennials
WHAT TO DO
Unexpectedly mild weather at the start of the month made gardening more of a pleasure than it usually is in November. The cyclamen are still on the go, the viburnums are in full, smelly flow, the fuchsias are flowering more wildly than they have at any time before.
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.
Why, I asked a member 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 working out a preventative medicine and it is not mentioned in Christopher Grey-Wilson's monograph 'Cyclamen' (Batsford, £30).
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 feed our soil.
Perennials such as herbaceous geraniums and polygonums should be cut back and (if you are feeling wildly virtuous) top dressed with sieved compost mixed with bonemeal.
WHAT TO BUY
You've got to shop between now and Christmas, so, if you can, you might as well do it in beautiful surroundings. Inside the calm oasis that is the Chelsea Physic Garden on London's Royal Hospital Road, a pop-up Christmas Fair will be running next weekend, Sat 30 Nov and Sun 1 Dec with excellent coffee and cakes to top up flagging energy levels. Check out details onchelseaphysicgarden.co.uk
Life & Style blogs
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
- 1 Artist Jamie McCartney: How The Great Wall of Vagina is a stand against 'body fascism'
- 2 Katie Hopkins reveals fear she will die during brain surgery to cure epilepsy
- 3 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital agency is looking ...
Up to 70k DOE: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Financial Director ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company has been manufacturing high quali...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is the fairest onl...