Greenfingers - November 2016

The last weekend in September saw the flower bed in the front garden cleared, dug over and compost added, and planted up with Monarda, Crocosmia, Alstroemeria, Salvia, Lobelia and several grasses, as the starter plants for a hot bed. A few more will be added from elsewhere in the garden over the next few days, including Crocosmia Lucifer, but those mentioned were in pots and desperate for freedom. There has been a good deal of rain since planting them out, which will have helped them to become established.

Along with the shorter daylight hours come some seasonal gardening tasks: protect fruit trees from winter moth damage by applying a grease band wintermotharound the trunk about 18” from the ground; plant out spring flowering bulbs and bare rooted trees and shrubs; if we have a dry day, mow the lawn with the blade raised; mulch the beds and tidy the borders of leaves from the ground, but leave some perennial stems as winter cover for ladybirds and other insects; clear out the greenhouse completely in order to clean and access the corners with disinfectant to reduce the chances of pests and disease affecting next year’s plants; tools and equipment can be cleaned and oiled before being put away for the winter; and dahlias, chrysanthemums and other tender plants should be dug up and stored carefully to survive the winter.

By next month, the plants in the garden pond should have been cleared and cut back as a major restoration task. Some of the silt will have been removed, to increase the depth of water, but great care will be taken over the multitude of critters which lurk in the depths. The dragonfly nymph is part of a fascinating life cycle, and watching them crawl up a stem and transform into a masterful flying predator is a magical experience.

The full moon was mentioned last month as coinciding with perigee, at a distance of 357,860 km from earth, and this month, on the 14th it will be even closer at 356,512 km. Two weeks later it will be at apogee, 406,556 km distant.