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Great Haseley and District Horticultural Society - November 2017

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I have been starting to prepare for winter in the garden.

Part of me finds this rather sad as I am not a fan of winter, but I do like lighting the wood burning stove and there are already signs of spring in the garden. New shoots are showing on the sedums and new flower buds on spring flowering Viburnum. The garden still has a huge amount of colour and, while I have always thought early June was the gardens peak, I am now thinking September is as good. I have noticed that many local gardens have a magnificent late flush of Roses going on.

I spotted some very attractive violas in packs of 24 for £5.99 in a local garden centre which looked like a bargain so I have already potted up several pots to start to replace my summer bedding. My late bedding display in shades of red and orange including Salvias, Begonias, Fuchsias and Ricinus are still looking lovely so I will leave them until frost is forecast or the wind starts to damage the plants. I will then put them in the greenhouse to dry out as the biggest threat to overwintering is wet. Some I will leave in their pots and others I will remove from their pots, cut them short, cut back the roots and put them in small pots for the winter. The ricin plants came as seedlings from Sally and have provided height and colour in the display. Next year I will add in Dahlias; I got out of the habit of growing them after a hard winter saw my garden ones killed.

I have another display largely consisting of pink and purple Fuchsias, pink and purple Salvias and deep pink and white Pelargoniums and a new very large Plectranthus ecklonii which came new to me on a garden visit as a small plant and has provided me with a great deal of pleasure this summer. Unfortunately it is very tender so will need overwintering. I have already taken cuttings and plan to try it in the garden next year to see how big it will get with an unlimited root run; I am excited about it already!

It is time to plant any remaining bulbs for next spring and finish harvesting remaining courgettes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chillies and, best of all this year, aubergines. I have been astonished at the productivity of the aubergines and discovered earlier this summer that they are used in greenhouses as a sacrificial plant against red spider mite; they are performing this job well as they are covered in the mite yet still managing to produce large shiny fruits which are delicious.

I will start on clearing the garden in preparation for next year leaving the grasses and plants with attractive seed heads to provide structure and food for the birds. Now is also a good time to plant new plants so they can settle their roots in while the soil is still warm. When the weather is too bad there are always seed and plant catalogues for next summer.

Fortunately, I can report the meadow has been cut and cleared, although, sadly, the hay was too wet to use as animal feed.

Liz Moyses

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