10 reasons to be cheerful in November

I love November, not just because it’s my birthday on the 29th (sorry but I just needed to make reference to this in public so that C and E officially have no excuses…) but because it’s  about the only month in the year when you can actually RELAX.  OK so Elaine will try and have you out turning the compost or planting bare root hedges, but honestly there’s no need, you CAN just swan around the garden clasping a hot drink inspecting things (Caroline doesn’t even go outside she just looks at things through triple glazed windows). So let’s list the...

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white and pink flowers

Chrysanthemum ‘Innocence’ AGM

For years I fought against growing chrysanthemums, probably influenced by their association with funerals, and with those garish bunches wrapped in coloured cellophane on garage forecourts; but recently and most particularly after growing ‘Innocence’ I have come to appreciate their contribution to our garden at what can be rather a sombre time of year. Who could not enjoy the soft pinky white flowers that welcome me each time I step out of the back door? Flowers that have, last week, weathered and come sailing through -2.8 degrees! ‘Innocence’ is one of the single Korean chrysanthemums, which have been bred over many...

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Grow-How Tips for Early November

November brings a real winter chill, and you may catch the scent of bonfires in the air as mistletoe and holly berries ripen in the trees. Here are some gardening tasks to keep you warm before you dive indoors for a heartening bowl of soup……….. TOO TOO TULIPS! November is the best time to plant tulip bulbs. The soil is now much cooler than in the early autumn and this lowering of the temperature reduces the risk of your bulbs developing the fungal disease called Tulip Fire. I have found that only species tulips like T.sylvestris, sprengeri or acuminata...

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Halloween horrors

The end of October,  and the shops are full of skeletons and pumpkins as Halloween approaches. Don’t think that the horticultural world can’t join in the spooky fun though; there are plenty of botanical nightmares out there worthy of The Little Shop of Horrors. The carnivorous plants hold a special fascination –  monkey cups (Nepenthes), cobra plants (Darlingtonia), Venus fly-traps  (Dionaea) and the like. These lure innocent insects to their doom with their gaudy shapes and colours and scents. Horrified but intrigued, we watch as the fly buzzes nonchalantly towards mortal danger, like a young woman in a skimpy nightie walking through...

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