October at Norfolk School of Gardening - Is Autumn more important than Spring?

October at Norfolk School of Gardening - Is Autumn more important than Spring?

Why autumn is the most important season of the year for gardeners.

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To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

- Audrey Hepburn

She influenced so many areas of 20th century life, but who would have thought Audrey Hepburn would still be inspiring gardeners well into the 21st century? This does feel like a very appropriate quote for these uncertain, unsettling times. It is also a timely reminder that autumn is the perfect time to be planning and planting. Although many people have traditionally lifted and divided perennial plants in the spring there is increasing evidence that plants moved in the autumn when the soil is still warm flourish better and faster than those dug up and moved in the spring when we may well be heading into months of drought. It is this climate shift which has prompted the RHS to encourage us to begin to view autumn as the key time in the gardening calendar, rather than the traditional spring garden frenzy. With that in mind we have started to lift, divide and move plants from the stock beds and borders and will continue doing so over the coming weeks. We showed students how to do this on the Border Renovation course this week, as well as looking at many other things we can all do to improve our garden, including planting for year-round interest, pruning for stem colour, mulching to suppress weeds and retain moisture and much more. This course will run again on 5th February if you would like to join us.

We have also been busy taking semi-ripe cuttings of some of our favourite plants including several Salvia and Fuchsia. Salvia ‘Amistad’ is looking absolutely stunning at the moment with its inky purple-blue flowers arched above most other plants and is attracting any bees which are still out foraging. Another of our favourites is Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’, another of the taller Salvia, which has very beautiful white and dark mauve flowers, falling in long racemes. We are filling pots with cuttings from these lovely plants and will over-winter them in the Rhino greenhouse ready for potting up then planting out next year.

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:
  • Renovation Pruning – 6th November
  • Plants for Free – 17th November
  • Planting for Year-Round Colour – 19th November
  • Creating a Small Wildlife Pond – 9th December
  • Basic Slab Laying – 16th December
  • Christmas Wreath Workshops – 27th November, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 10th December
  • Christmas Table Flowers Workshop – 11th December
  • Certificate in Practical Horticulture (10-week course) – 20th January



Plant of the Week


Purple berries with yellow-gold leaves.

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion'

This medium-sized deciduous shrub has an upright habit and can grow to 3m. The leaves are purplish when young, turning rosy-pink in autumn. The lilac-coloured flowers are small, but it is the berries for which this shrub is grown: violet-purple, in compact clusters and quite unlike anything else in the garden right now. Grow a few shrubs together to ensure good pollination and fruiting, in sun or semi-shade and well-drained soil.


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