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Posted on 1st April, 2023
 October proved to be another milder-than-average month which,combined with the damp conditions, ensured that everything kepton growing! I was able to scarify and overseed the lawn and itgerminated within the week! Because of the hot summer, there wasa large amount of thatch to get out and I've gone for a shade anddrought seed as a precaution against future dry conditions, this onecontaining Kentucky Blue, fescue and ryegrass. November andDecember are the quieter times in the garden, clearing the tree leaves off the lawn to breakdown into leaf mould is an essential for me. Leaf mould can be spread onto borders as amulch or dug into the veg patch to enrich the soil. And leaf piles are a great place for ourwildlife to hibernate over the cold months!
In the borders
there is still lots to be getting on with! Someperennials will need to be cut down and borderline hardy varietiessuch as agapanthus or semi-tropicals should be protected if thishasn't been done already. Dahlias should be lifted after the firstfrost and stored in dry earth in a frost-free environment. Now is thebest time to be planting bare roots: roses, shrubs and trees need togo in before the soil gets too cold.
There are plenty of things to givea lovely winter colour at this time of year in borders. Pansies and viola are a staple classicand I love cyclamen! Primroses also give a lovely edge of border display until Spring as longas they're deadheaded regularly. Hellebores are one of myfavourites. There are amazing varieties and colour ranges; from thegreen helleborus viridis to the darkest purple blacks. It's important todeadhead these before they seed off or they go everywhere andcross pollinate resulting in unappealing murky brown/purple flowers.
There are some amazing winter-flowering shrubs to consider too.Daphne adds an evergreen structure to a border and an incredible,heady scent! Cornus gives vivid winter colour with vibrant stems.Some deciduous shrubs give winter flowers that smell delicious, witch hazel andwintersweet are two of the lovelier ones but do require a lot of space.
 In the veg patch
Autumn fruiting raspberries can be cut down hard and compost heapedover approx 5cm deep. Clear strawberries’ dead stems and leaves and take cuttings fromcurrant bushes and gooseberries. Brussels sprouts and broad beans should be supportedand outside crops benefit from a protection such as fleece over the colder months.November is really the last month in which to plant out garlic and onions! Luckily this issomething I managed to do in between all the rain we had at the end of October. A smartlittle thing I did (which is pretty rare) was to wrap twine at 10cm points along a bamboocane. When laid on the plot, it's an awesome time saver when you have a couple of hundredonion sets to get in!

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