Looking forward

"If it is true that one of the greatest pleasures of gardening lies in looking forward, then the planning of next year's beds and borders must be one of the most agreeable occupations in the gardener's calendar.  This should make October and November particularly pleasant months, for then we may begin to clear our borders, to cut down those sodden and untidy stalks, to dig up and increase our plants, and to move them to other positions where they will show up to greater effect.  People who are not gardeners always say that the bare beds of winter are uninteresting; gardeners know better, and take even a certain pleasure in the neatness of the newly dug, bare, brown earth."  Vita Sackville-West  
November is indeed a time of promise, contemplation and remembrance.  It is a the month when the days shorten with relentless certainty.  Much of November is about planning ahead.  This is generally the time of year I dig new or extend the borders.  Most of the work in the garden is about preparing for the spring.
 Bulb planting is about making the garden look good for Spring.  The new borders are for planting when the soil warms again.  It is tree/shrub planting time and also a good time to move some perennials around ready for the new year growth.  The weeds die down and the grass slows in its growing.  Trees and roses can be pruned and greenhouses cleaned and used to store the tender stuff over the winter.
As the first frost arrive then the tender plants have to be protected.  Here in the Midlands this means storing in the greenhouse as dahlias and cannas will not survive outside.  Last year I lost nearly all of my dahlias even though I stored them as usual.  I am hoping I will be more successful this year and I have also collected a lot of seed from them in the belief that this may give me a back-up plan.
I don't have a lot of variegated plants as generally I don't like them.  I don't have a lot of evergreen plants as generally I don't like them.  This however is the exception on both counts.  It is a variegated rhamnus, bought from a visit to Hidcote many years ago now.  This shrub spent the first few years of its life in a pot but now is planted in the front garden.  It reminds me of a particularly happy period of time and it creates a bright corner as the winter months approach.


  1. What a great quote from Vita SW! So true. Agree on the variegated plants, not a fan either. Apart from Eryngium Bourgatii. Lovely post!

  2. I get a real thrill considering the empty vegetable border in the spring. We're not really into variegated plants. I can only think of one variagated miscanthus that we have.
    I store most tender plants in the greenhouse over winter but this year I'm putting my dahlias in the house(advice from Alistair at Aberdeen Gardening) as every year I lose some or all of them.


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