Flower Power: Allow your garden to sparkle this winter

News Desk (13 November, 2019) Columnists

November weather does not usually allow much opportunity to work in the garden but there are always various tasks needing to be done

A cool, blustery wet October has given way to the last of the autumn months, writes Jackie Power…

November weather often brings mist and fog on a southerly airstream; but if the wind moves round to the north, cold and bright conditions are likely to dominate the month.

Leaves are slow to fall this year (but have now picked up a pace) revealing the intricate structure of the trees – and as branches become bare surface textures are also more visible. The graceful Silver birch has a luminous quality and is much more noticeable during the dark winter months. Cornus alba (Dogwood) without leaves provides a splash of colour revealing shiny, smooth fluorescent red stems.

Many shrubs such as Cotoneaster will hold their berries through the winter – providing interest but also much needed food for the birds. There are a limited number of plants flowering at this time – mainly shrubs – with winter Jasmine one of the first into bloom. Summer roses and geraniums are hanging on providing pockets of bright colour.

British Summer time ended on 27th October and the shorter days make it feel like winter although we are not there yet. Attention is inevitably turning to Christmas and preparations will start to take up time. Gift ideas could include books, packets of seeds, bulbs, plants and hand cream.

An interesting book for the city gardener – ‘The Edible Balcony: Growing Fresh Produce in the Heart of the City’ by Alex Mitchell. It includes ingenious ideas for growing food in unusual places in limited space. Alternatively a ‘Garden Visits Journal’ might be a useful gift. Garden Planners/Journals are practical – there are several formats and styles available usually costing under £10.  For further details and inspiration look at Hive Books www.hive.co.uk

Hand cream is often a welcome gift ‘Bee Kind Hand Cream’ is nourishing and contains ingredients to help soften and protect very dry skin. Priced at £14.95 from www.beefayre.com/bee-kind-hand-and-body-cream.html

November weather does not usually allow much opportunity to work in the garden but there are always various tasks needing to be done. Leaf clearance is ongoing through the winter months. During breaks in the weather borders and beds can be lightly dug over. Don’t cut back everything – Poppy seed heads, Lemon balm and Agapanthus flower heads provide interest when left to dry out; on cold nights a covering of frost gives them a decorative sparkle.

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