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The days are getting shorter, and with the changing of the clocks the afternoons seem to be over before they have got going. This makes the time we do get to spend in the garden on dry days even more precious. We have so many jobs to be getting on with and although we don’t believe in ‘putting the garden to bed’ there is much to be done to prepare the garden for the winter months. We will not be cutting down perennials which provide structure, interest, food for birds and habitat for insects, so the Echinacea, cardoons, Verbena bonariensis, Echinops and more will be left standing, losing their summer colours but none of their height and shape. We will be cutting down and composting those annuals and perennials which have collapsed and others which will do so as soon as the first frost appears. We will say goodbye for another year to the glorious Zinnia and Cosmos, the Dahlia and the Nicotiana, though not before harvesting their seeds and saving them for spring sowing. We are still weeding the beds and borders, focussing on perennial weeds which will hang around all winter and return in the spring. We will then cover as much of the bare soil as we can with a thick layer of mulch, using the lovely Strulch as well as our own homemade compost. This will help to retain the heat in the soil for longer and will suppress many weeds too. It will also protect some more tender perennials like Dahlia which we do not lift for the winter in our sheltered walled garden.
We are still running many courses over the coming weeks, and welcoming lots of students keen to learn new skills or brush up on ones they already have. We have a mini hard landscaping series which started this week with Basic Bricklaying and carries on with Creating a Wildlife Pond and Basic Slab Laying in December. There are still one or two spaces available on these and on the propagation course, Plants for Free, on 17th November.
The Christmas Wreath workshops are filling up but there are still some spaces on these lovely festive mornings if you would like to come on your own or with friends. We are also running a Christmas Table Flowers workshop to help you create beautiful and unique festive table settings.
Upcoming courses with availability:
- Developing an Annual Maintenance Plan – 12th November
- Plants for Free – 17th November
- Creating a Small Wildlife Pond – 9th December
- Basic Slab Laying – 16th December
- Christmas Wreath Workshops – 27th November, 4th, 6th December
- Christmas Table Flowers Workshop – 11th December
- Certificate in Practical Horticulture (10-week course) – 20th January
Plant of the Week
Fraxinus angustifolia 'Raywood'
Given the common name of claret ash because of the autumn leaf colour, this is a fast growing, medium size deciduous tree, suitable for medium size gardens. Tolerant of both urban conditions and coastal areas it grows well in well-drained soil. The slender dark green leaves turn a spectacular claret red in the autumn. This ash tree was originally from southern Australia where it was discovered growing on a property called Raywood. It was introduced to the UK in 1928.