Probably the less said about October the better. Wet, wet and more wet with only rare glimmers of golden autumn sunshine to lift spirits and illuminate those glorious autumn colours…
However, November is a whole different ballgame. Despite woeful weather, the clocks turning back and all the other gloomy things going on, we gardeners LOVE this time of year. The earth is damp but still warm and welcoming and ‘tis the season to be merry and relish the prospect of bare-root planting. The very thought should be sending shivers of excitement down your collective spines!
Looking good this month
Spot what’s stunning now and plan to include it in your garden next year*. Flaming colours, fabulous forms and sumptuous shapes - your autumn and winter garden can be just as magnificent as its summer incarnation.
Look out for Malus Evereste - masses of white blossom in spring, golden autumn foliage and red-orange fruits until well into next year. Fab for jelly, a universal apple pollinator and disease and pollution resistant, so it is ideal for town and country. Rumoured to be named after Eve Reste. The first person to tell us who she was gets one free.
Cyclamen hederifolium
No garden should be without Cyclamen hederifolium; their dainty little pink piglet ear blooms appear in early autumn, often before the equally attractive, silver-marbled heart-shaped leaves. They’re happy in shade or sun, super undemanding and last forever. Pretty much the perfect plant.
While the plants above are for window shopping and planning ahead, this is your Blue Peter get-your-hands-dirty moment. Short and to the point; now is the time to plant bulbs (still some left, but hurry), gooseberries, bare-root roses and wallflowers.
How to plant a Bareroot Rose

If you have never planted a bare-root rose, this one is for you and in the absence of the latest James Bond film, we have produced footage that is right up there in terms of must-see movies.

Andy our Head Nurseryman shows you how to plant a bareroot rose in this video using Rootgrow (which really makes a difference). Our roses are being lifted as I write and so we will be sending them out within days. This shows you what you'll get when your order is delivered. And what to do with it...

Order your bareroot roses today!
Through the Tree Hole
A new monthly feature on interesting people who just love growing things...

We are thrilled to lead this series off with a real organic success story (if you can call Sophie "a story"). She farms 1000 acres in Dorset organically, rotating premium arable crops and diverse herbal pastures grazed by a new dairy herd of 350 Viking Red cows. She does not mention it, but she also makes nearly 100 tons of her own compost every year. Find out more - including her favourite facial products here.
Every month our customer support team picks out a topic that has generated lots of questions from customers...
In October fruit tree pollination stood stamen and pistil above the rest. How does the pollination of fruit trees work? Well, the simple answer is "pretty much like sex anywhere else". But, of course, sex is never that simple, so:

To learn a bit more look at our note on Fruit Tree Pollination, or if you just want to know which varieties pollinate the trees you have or want to buy, use our Interactive Pollination Checker to find out.
Rake up fallen leaves - it’s an essential autumn job with many virtues.
  • Leaves (especially large ones such as oak and sycamore) on lawns and beds prevent air and sunlight getting through and encourage pests and disease.
  • Making leaf mould is one of the more gratifying forms of recycling; rake them into lines, shred by mowing for the best results, shovel into black bags perforated with a few fork holes, dampen well and forget about them. In Spring you’ll have a totally free and utterly brilliant soil improver (as well as a mulch and peat substitute).
  • Plus – any rake’s progress (apologies – bad pun) is a pretty good aerobic workout!
  • Put grease bands on your fruit trees to deter winter moth
  • Prune rose bushes by a third to a half to reduce windrock. Watch the video.  
  • Prune grapevines and blackcurrants
  • Split rhubarb crowns and plant garlic
  • Net brassicas to stop pigeons shredding the leaves
  • Tidy the garden, and, if you can bear it, leave some areas ‘au natural’ for wildlife
We deliver several thousand varieties of plant and tree directly to your door. Our parcel size varies from a large letter up to 6 metres long and weights range from a few grammes to 2 tonnes. All contain living plants and sometimes things go wrong. We do not pretend to be perfect but we do try very hard indeed to get it right and fix the problem if we don't. The only real measure we have of your judgement of our performance is through feedback and judging by the figures below we are doing OK. But OK can always be improved. So please let us have your thoughts on how we can do better. A £100 Ashridge Voucher for the best suggestion.
Here's how we're faring against some of our competitors this year...
Bonfire Night
If you do decide to have your own socially distanced mini bonfire night, do please light the fire on one side first so wildlife such as hedgehogs has a chance to escape.
AND ON THE SUBJECT OF CHRISTMAS AGAIN…Homemade mincemeat is a doddle to make and beats shop-bought versions hands down…
  • 350g currants
  • 275g raisins
  • 95ml brandy
  • Zest and juice of ½ orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½ the lemon
  • 300g shredded suet
  • 250g dark brown sugar
  • 90g chopped mixed peel
  • 1 Bramley apple peeled and finely grated
  • ½ nutmeg finely grated
  1. Soak the dried fruit in the brandy/orange/lemon juice for at least an hour and preferably
    overnight. Drain the fruit (which should be fat and squidgy by now) and keep the liquid.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well then pour in the reserved soaking liquid. Give it
    all another good stir, make a wish and decant into sterilised jars which can be sealed to
    be airtight (Kilner jars are ideal). Leave for at least 2 weeks and allow yourself a little
    well-earned smugness when people comment on how delicious your mince pies are!
Our blogs are written by garden designers and passionate gardeners (not mutually exclusive) making them well informed and opinionated... So if you want ideas that may be relevant to your garden have a look at this month's scribblings:

Crab Apple Trees: Year-Round Interest
Trees for Autumn and Winter Colour
Soft Fruit
Fruit Trees
Garden Trees
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Grove Cross Barn, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NJ
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Thank you, The Ashridge Nurseries Team.

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