So it’s nearly Christmas& we all tend to forget about the garden, well don’t, there are still plenty of jobs that still need doing & plenty still to enjoy such as the winter flowering prunus as well as all the bright berries in our gardens & hedgerows. I have a couple of spindle trees in my garden & flowering the best I have ever seen them, probably due to the unusual weather we have had this year, just look at all those conkers & acorns!
If you have not planted your tulips yet, it is not too late, plant shallow if you wish to lift the bulbs after planting or 8” deep if you wish them to naturalise. This month we can expect some of winter’s extremes from a fair amount of frosty mornings to the occasional bright sunny day with every thing else in between. This is the month to finish off those jobs you started in the garden on good days despite the failing light.
Preparation: continue with the digging, when soil conditions allow, not too wet or frozen. On days you cannot get out, put the kettle on, make a nice pot of tea & read your seed catalogues, scribble down what you want to grow, next season, what & where you grew this year to ensure crop rotation. Make assessments of what worked well & what did not, learning from one’s successes & failures after all that is what gardening is all about. On the subject of seed catalogues, do not forget our club scheme we have with Dobies seeds, one third off seed orders & 10 % off other items, seed catalogues now available from Jess Bailey on club nights or tel 812267 orders to be received no later than our club night on January the 20th. Plants & plug catalogues will be available later, remember “use it or lose it” it is a great offer & helps towards your club funds
Pruning: this is an ideal time to prune ornamental trees, shrubs & fruit trees, now trees & bushes are not cloaked in foliage, check them over looking for signs of disease or damaged growth, these can now be pruned out. When all the foliage has gone from your grape vines carry out winter pruning. After pruning plants they all benefit from a good mulching round their bases. Prune back roes to half their height, to prevent winter wind damage, final pruning can be carried out in February when first buds start to appear.
Planting: the ideal month to plant bare root shrubs & trees, while the ground still has a little warmth in it and consider where you plant new stock & what grew there before, especially rose bushes as they will not prosper in ground that has previously had roses in it.
Lawns: if weather permit, repairs can still be carried out, keep off the grass when it is frosted to avoid damage.
Greenhouses: now is about time to get those heaters going to protect over wintering tender plants & cuttings. On mild days do not forget to open the vents, except the coldest windiest days, to improve the ventilation & prevent botrytis (grey mould) forming on plants
Wildlife: keep some water free of ice for the birds, put out seeds & scraps plus the occasional half an apple, blackbirds love these!, but go easy on the white bread, remember the birds are our allies in the ongoing war against pests. Bonfires are a great source of potash for your garden, but check all those piles of leaves and garden waste, before lighting, to ensure no hedgehog has decided to hibernate in there.
Maintenance: clean algae from paths fences & sheds & carry out any necessary repairs before winter winds make even more work necessary. If we have a heavy snowfall, shake it off shrubs & other foliage as the added weight can permanently destroy the shape & in extreme circumstances even break branches. One final note, check outside taps are lagged well.
Club news: on Monday the 21st of October, our speaker was Eva Rogers, from Witney, with a talk entitled “four seasons of colour in the garden”. Eva’s talk was illustrated by many Autumn colours & berries from her own garden, plus slides showing the colours in other seasons & how it is possible to have colour in your garden all the year round, as usual with Eva,s talks, very interesting & full of tips & advise.
Our monthly members competition, a carved pumpkin, was well supported with some wonderful creations, & the all looked stunning when lit up with their candles, the competition was won by Hazel Hodds. The meeting closed with our chairman’s report & club raffle. There will be no monthly meeting in December, due to it’s proximity to Christmas, however on Monday the 16th of December we will be holding our social evening, with line dancing and an American supper.
Also a quick reminder about our special evening we are holding on Monday 3rd of March, when our special speaker will be Christine Walkden, that well known TV & radio gardener, with her own home spun slant on gardening, tickets are available on club nights at £10 open to all, better be quick though as they will be quickly sold, refreshments & free parking.
Well I think that is about all for this article and this year it only remains for me, on behalf, of Wroughton & district Society of gardeners, to wish you a merry Christmas & a happy & successful gardening New year.