Hasn't this autumn been stunning?
The leaves of gold and red everywhere. Plants are still growing and there are some oddities happening- a Banksia rose that usually flowers at the end of April early May has flowers on it, spring flowering welsh poppies are out- some plants are as confused as us with the weather and the lack of frosts. But there have also been some late delights of plants that save themselves until this time of year and are very welcome for their late performance.
Although my dahlias at the far end of the garden have been blackened by frost, so it has been on the edge. It looks like next week could bring much colder nights so now is the time to finish off those autumn jobs and prepare the gardens for winter.
Jobs to do for November
- Cut down those blackened dahlias and if you are in a warm spot of the village and also on the sandy free-draining side, you might consider mulching them and leaving them in situ, a thick layer of leaf mould, straw or compost to keep the tubers at a depth so they do not get frosted. However wet is also an enemy of dahlias as this makes them rot, or take them in and overwinter in a frost free place.
- Cut back stems of perennials that are likely to rot on top of other plants, but leave those with seed heads for the insects and birds. If you leave 15cm of stems after cutting them this will also provide habitats for overwintering insects.
- If you haven't already done so ensure that all tender perennials are tucked away somewhere frost free, a window sill, greenhouse, conservatory, porch.
- There is still time with this warmer weather to split perennials and make new plants. I have been digging up perennials that have outgrown their space and potted some up to use elsewhere – maybe the Garden Society plant sale next May! I have also been finding a lot of bindweed – its been a good year for it! If you do have it then you have to dig deep into the soil to get at all the roots, or else it will just regrow from the tiniest piece left. Weed out any other perennial weeds and mulch beds with compost or leaf mold.
- Now with the leaves coming down rake them and either make a leaf mold stack with wire mesh or put into large plastic bags – make holes in the sides , and keep a little moist, and next year you will have wonderful mulch for the garden. Do not use conifer needles though as these do not rot down quickly.
- There is still time to plant tulips either in pots or in the border.
- Clear the fallen leaves of roses from the base if possible to prevent black spot from appearing next year.