November 22


Autumn is here. As I write, we have a riot of colour in the garden, reds, yellows, greens and, of course, varying shades of brown. When the sun comes out, it is brilliant, especially in the late afternoon.

We’ve got lots of red berries on the various Cotoneasters, the stunning white berries of the Actaea Rubra (baneberry to you and me), the orangey/yellows of the Quince and the red/oranges of the Crab apples, the pinks of the Colchicum (Naked Ladies) and Nerines (Guernsey Lillie’s) and the incredible blue of Crocus sativus, (the saffron crocus) and many, many more interesting colours. It is indeed a marvellous display that nature provides at this time of year.

Of course, to have that display needs work and planning, and that’s where the pleasure of gardening comes from. Reaping the rewards of your work, year in and year out, can and does produce something to be really proud of. Even when you have had your garden for as long as I have at Fairbairn house, almost 40 years, there is always the opportunity to improve. Lifting and dividing plants, moving plants, introducing new plants and different structures, creating new areas, and altering the layout slightly, you do all this to enhance the garden. Gardens, like everything, need to evolve, and grow, to change their appearance and improve the interest of the user.

We spend more time outdoors now and use the garden more for pleasure than we ever did before. We want to relax and enjoy the space, especially dining ‘al fresco’, so we need it to look good and have the facilities to use and enjoy. More and more have outdoor rooms where they can relax and enjoy the garden from a different aspect. To achieve this, we often have to make changes and adapt the garden layout accordingly. The next few months give an ideal time to make any changes. The plants are mainly all dormant and, if moved, stand a much better chance of survival in their new positions.  

Continuing on planning, the next few months is when you plan for spring colour and choose a range of different bulbs to plant that will give a lot of interest and pleasure throughout the spring months. For example, Aconites, Snowdrops and Crocuses for January/February, Miniature Irises/ Daffodils and Tulips etc., for February/March, various types of Daffodils/Tulips/Hyacinths for March April into May, Alliums/ Camissias/Fritillarias for May into June and of course there are many more for throughout the spring period.

To end with, let’s not forget the wildlife in the garden. Set up feeding stations for the birds, enjoy watching them, and start counting the ranges of different birds visiting your garden. The pleasure that they give is worth the expense of the bird food.

Enjoy November, and enjoy your garden.


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