Frost and Fireworks
This week has grown considerably cooler and it has started to feel typically autumnal. Many of us have been greeted by Jack Frost himself in the last few days. I foolishly have lost the apparatus that are traditionally used as ice scrapers and have had to resort to using a note book to get ice off my windscreen of a morning. My neighbours must think me mad.
It has been a reminder that November has indeed arrived. It only seemed moments ago that I was running up that steep hill at Abbotsbury Sub-tropical gardens, puffing and panting in the intense midday sun. (Ahh memories)
I particularly love November (Not just because it is my birthday month - No presents necessary but I do love a card) but because of all the exciting events that take place.
It all begins on bonfire night (one of my favourite nights of the year!) As a self-confessed history nerd, I am fascinated by the story of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder plot. How different would our lives be today if he had been successful? How would parliament look and run? This weekend I hope to see a plethora of fireworks, with a mulled wine in hand whilst keeping warm stood by a blazing bonfire. What could be more autumnal?
November is also the beginning of Christmas preparations (for some). After being criticised by my family about my drastic decline of organisational skills, I have put together a comprehensive Christmas plan. The plan is yet to be executed but hey, the motive is there. Besides, there is no point in having presents wrapped only to gather dust until the 25th December arrives.
Although November can bring about a sense of spirit, family and community, it can be a dangerous time in the garden for our plants and wildlife.
Take a look at the advice I provided in one of my previous blogs, 'winter is coming':
When is the best time to protect our plants?
In some instances we can plan ahead for winter. When you plant tender varieties, position them in a warm sunny spot, as this will provide you with a better chance when the chill sets in.
Plants should be protected when the first signs of frost appear. Grab your tools and your fleece - its time to protect our gardens!
|Frost covered berries|
Lifting: If you have plants situated in exposed areas you may wish to re-position these varieties into an area of the garden that is less open to the elements. Alternatively, tender varieties will benefit from the comfort of a greenhouse or well-ventilated conservatory.
Plants such as Cannas, Dahlias, Fuchsias and Pelargoniums can be lifted from the ground and stored over winter whilst they are in a semi-dormant state. They should be kept in cool conditions, preferably in a greenhouse or conservatory buried beneath layers of sand with just the crown peeping through the surface.
Mulching: Where lifting is not necessary nor feasible, it is crucial that tender and half-hardy plants are protected by a layer of thick, dry mulch. Suitable materials include substances such as straw, compost, bark or well rotted manure. Mulching will keep the surrounding area moist and will prevent the ground from becoming a frozen block.
Wrapping: Again, when moving plants is not a feasible option the next best thing is to wrap your plants in a protective wrap such as fleecing. This will also protect plants against excessive wet weather. It is also recommended to check hardy plants in exposed areas as they may also become vulnerable in the winter.
Wrappings should be implemented at the first signs of frost and should be made from materials such as fleece, hessian and polystyrene as this will best protect your plants from both the cold and the wind. When and if a mild spell hits, take note to remove fleecing for an extended period to prevent sweating and rotting. To us, it would probably feel like being locked in a fully heated room wearing all our winter wear! (Not pleasant!).
If you haven't protected your plants already, please do so before it is too late!
If you ever need any advice about your gardens over winter, please feel free to email me! I am always happy to help.
Have a fabulous weekend.