November Notes

I can’t quite believe we’re in November already but I’m so glad the month has started with some dry and bright weather! My last few weeks of October were a bit of a wash out so it’s been nice to get back out in the garden and start giving everything a much-needed tidy.

I always think of the last few months of the year as a time to reflect, tidy and make plans for next year. My focus in the garden this week has been tulip planting, starting to clear the cut flower garden and the dreaded leaf collection!

Cut flower garden update

Next year I will be dedicating one of my raised beds to tulips and daffodils. As now is the time to get these both in, I’ve started to clear one in preparation for the bulb planting to start over the next couple of weeks. It feels right to be now sorting out these raised beds.  As you can see from the pictures, the flowers are now past their best, with the exception of some last blooms from my dahlias and cosmos. 

As I’m changing my planting for next year, I’m completely clearing each bed, relocating plants and then giving everything a good weed and topping up with mulch.

The wonderful world of tulips

This year I’m growing tulips in pots and also in one of my cut-flower beds. You can plant tulips in October and November as it’s during this time they start to put down roots. It’s also a good time as the colder temperatures help stop the viral and fungal diseases that lurk in the soil. If you are planting in a border or raised bed then you need to dig a trench roughly 20cm deep. I usually add a little bonemeal. You then place the tulip bulbs, pointy end up, about 8cm apart and cover with soil.

If you are planting in pots then try using a technique called the bulb lasagne. Like the food dish, it consists of layers, but instead of layers of food it’s layers of bulbs. It’s definitely worth a go as it gives a lovely dense display of flowers. All you need to do is pop the largest and latest flowering bulbs in the deepest, add a layer of soil and then add the smallest and earliest in the top layer. The emergent shoots of the lower layer bulbs just bend round anything they hit on their way up and keep on growing. The first layer can go as deep as 28-30cm , so after them just cover with 5cm of potting compost and place the next layer of bulbs.

Just a quick note on these tubs. I got the black plastic tubs from Sarah Raven and they act as inserts to add to my ‘posher pots.’ They are rather fabulous as they allow you to swap and change as and when your flowers are in bloom. How good is that! Click here to take a closer look.  I wish I had thought of it!

Looking after your lawn

Yes, the dreaded leaf-pick up has started. I’m adopting a ‘little and often’ approach whilst remembering to leave a few piles of leaves to help wildlife. I’m adding all of my leaves to the compost heap, but if you don’t have one, you can pop them into bin bags to break down. Just add them to the bag, tie it closed and puncture some holes into the bottom to allow the content to breathe. Then just leave them to break down naturally. 

Don’t forget the wildlife

I discovered a new love for ladybirds over the Summer. I read somewhere that the best way of managing black fly is to transfer ladybirds to the bloom suffering with the infestation for the ladybirds to then manage. I did this and it worked a treat.  As a result, they removed the need to use any sprays. Therefore, don’t forget to provide over-wintering nooks and crannies for our helpful garden creatures. Having small log heaps and piles of leaves will all help to keep them safe until next spring. They’ll reward you by being on hand to control early pests.

You can also buy Bug hotels to provide additional places for bugs to hibernate in over the winter months. Sarah Raven does a good one – Click here for a closer look.

With love and stay safe, Flowers and Lifestyle by Margot –

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