I’m such a fair-weather gardener, and not even much of a gardener in fair weather… Our garden has run away with itself this summer, so really we ought to get out there and tidy it before winter so maybe we’ll be in more control next year… maybe…
I have my dad’s old book Practical Gardening and Food Production by Richard Sudell, and last week I wrote about the tasks real gardeners should be doing in November…
If we had flower beds even in autumn there’s plenty of work to be done – in brief:
Complete remodelling can take place if desired
Lifted plants should have their roots protected
Don’t divide roots except for plants like Michaelmas daisies
Clear fallen leaves
Protect winter flowering plants such as Christmas roses
Protect woolly leaved rock plants
Plant tulips in the shrubbery, borders and formal beds
There’s a section on general maintenance, and you’d have to be a really handy-person to be able to do all that’s suggested! The details of what cleaning needs to be done in effect describes many of the features in the garden! Gates and a greenhouse with inner limewashed walls, pergolas, screens and fences, and wattle hurdles along the new hedge:
Attend to constructional details: gate hinges and latches, greenhouse doors and frame hinges. A touch of oil or a coat of paint may make years of difference in wear.
Clean all glass; sunshine is scarce enough and none should be lost through films of dirt on windows. Limewash inside walls of lean-to greenhouses.
Repair pergolas, paths, screens and fences.
Plant protective screens; wattle hurdles as temporary shelters help the young hedge plants to establish themselves quickly
lastly there are the greenhouses and cold-frames to attend to:
Ventilate and fumigate as needed.
Bring indoor bulbs into the greenhouse or living-rooms from the cold frames. Do not bring every bowl or pot at once, but allow for a succession of bloom.
Watch for yellowing leaves in geraniums and similar plants; remove these and burn them. Ventilate as much as possible, avoiding frosts, but water sparingly.
In mild weather, take the frame lights off cauliflowers and similar vegetables that are being grown in the frame; they will stand mild winter days well enough, and are best kept hardy.
The frame lights he mentions are the glass panels of the cold frame… just in case you thought he had them illuminated!