2021

What pretty days October yielded. Slanting golden sun, blue(ish) skies, balmy temperatures and little to grumble about on the weather front for much of the month – albeit with a few notable exceptions!

All very well, but come November, who cares about the meteo, given the arrival of bare-root planting season. Gone are the days when October marked the moment with the advent of colder temperatures. Climate change seems to have put paid to that. November is now the kick-off time to reach for spade, fork and bare-rooted stock, although given the warm weather at the moment it's best delayed for a couple of weeks. (Plus, of course, as intimated in last month’s newsletter, no doubt your gardens are studded with planting holes, dug in preparation for the arrival of said stock…)
VIDEO OF THE MONTH…
How to plant a tree
How to Plant a Large Ornamental Tree

This video shows you how to plant ornamental trees when they delivered in larger sizes, called standards.

The process is actually the same as for a fruit tree, but we have a video on that too.
...AND YOU COULD ALSO PLANT...
Tulips: It's the perfect time to plant tulips. If you're new to gardening and planting spring flowering bulbs, here are a few handy tips on where and how to plant tulip bulbs...
Tulips
  1. Position - All tulips flower better in a sunny spot. Some will do OK in dappled shade
  2. Soil - These are quite greedy bulbs. Try to plant them in good soil containing plenty of organic matter with decent drainage.
  3. Wind - No bulbs really like the wind, and the longer their stems, the less happy they are.
Don't miss out and order your tulip bulbs today!
‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Rose: Bred by the redoubtable Colin Dickson in 2021, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ has already been awarded Rose of the Year 2022. A triumph in every way, this chameleon-like floribunda princess produces buds that start life as a deep vibrant coral, morphing through golden apricot and pink and eventually fading to parchment cream. Each luscious flower has up to 60 petals borne over glossy green foliage. It’s a wonderful rose in every way and Colin’s 7th Rose of the Year winner.
Shrubs: Bare-rooted and small potted shrubs may not look promising in their infancy but think of the glory to come. Photinia Red Robin is an evergreen hedging stalwart, much loved for its cheery scarlet spring foliage, whilst Pittosporum Tom Thumb is another hedging star, bearing purple evergreen leaves that contrast beautifully with bright green new shoots.

Onion Sets: Grow your own then create a thing of beauty with an onion braid. Not only aesthetically pleasing, but a practical way of storing onions by keeping the air circulating.
 
Plants of the Month
Evereste Crabapple Tree
Malus Evereste: Apparently named in homage to Eve Reste, rather than the enormous mountain, this stunning crab apple is, according to Monty Don (who has 4 in his garden), ‘magnificent’. Petite and robust, it’s one of the best for making crab apple jelly, is a great pollinator in an apple orchard, a top hit with bees et al and a looker into the bargain. Come spring, it’s smothered in fragrant white blossom, whilst autumn brings flamboyant orange fruits and bright gold foliage.
Cornus Midwinter Fire
Cornus Midwinter Fire: Spectacular flame-coloured stems that provide a luminous pop of brightness throughout winter are the hallmarks of this fabulous dogwood. The clue’s definitely in the name but suffice to say this showy head turner delivers on the promise in spades. It’s brilliant planted en masse, especially when lit by low winter sun, producing nectar and pollen-rich flowers in spring and autumn seeds for birds.
Cyclamen hederifolium: An essential in our book. These enchanting little plants bloom heroically in early autumn when gardens are looking a tad dull and tatty. Flurries of dainty pink flowers are borne above attractive, silver-marbled, heart-shaped leaves, frequently appearing before the foliage. Cyclamen are happy in shade or sun, incredibly undemanding and almost indestructible.   
 
Soft Fruit
All Gold, Glen Doll, Heritage and Little Sweet Sister – useful general knowledge for pub quizzes to know they’re raspberry varieties (who would have known?!). They’ve deservedly been added to our range for outstanding fruiting and flavour. 
Glen Doll Raspberry
Glen Doll Raspberry
ORDER NOW
Heritage Raspberry
Heritage Raspberry
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Little Sweet Sister
Little Sweet Sister
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All Gold Raspberry
All Gold Raspberry
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THE QUESTION ON EVERYONE’S LIPS…
Every month our customer support team picks out a topic that has generated lots of questions from customers...
Q: Fruit tree pollination - what is it, why is it important and how do I know which fruit trees to plant together?

A: For fruit to form, the female part (pistil) must receive pollen from the male part (stamen) of another flower preferably from a different but compatible variety of the same species.

So, for example, a Bountiful apple
won't pollinate another Bountiful. Take a look at our pollination checker to see what varieties are compatible. To see more information on fruit tree pollination, please take a look at our fruit tree pollination page.
Garden Bulbs
Bulbs
Not a lot of subtlety here. November may be the best month to plant tulip bulbs, but it’s also the last chance to plant other bulbs. So in the nicest possible way, not to put too fine a point on it and without nagging – it’s time to get on with the job before it’s too late.
JOBS FOR THE GARDEN

A FEW TIPS FOR THE MONTH IF YOU HAVE THE TIME AND INCLINATION!

  • Apply greasebands to your fruit trees to deter winter moth
  • Prune rose bushes by a third to a half to reduce windrock and then prune again in late winter
  • Start pruning apples and pears
  • Prune grapevines and blackcurrants
  • Split rhubarb crowns and plant garlic & onion sets
  • Net brassicas to stop pigeons shredding the leaves
  • Tidy the garden, and, if you can bear it, leave some areas ‘au naturel’ for wildlife
  • Tulip bulbs – throw handfuls in the air and plant where they land unless you want a formal geometric pattern
  • Protect, or lift and store dahlias if you haven’t already done so. Take a look at our video on how to lift and store dahlias for winter
  • Pick the last flowering plants – November is the dahlia swansong
  • Clear out your greenhouse, wash pots and trays, clean and oil your tools and throw away anything that is beyond hope or reasonable repair!
  • Raise pots and containers on feet or bricks and insulate with fleece or similar in preparation for frosty nights
  • Carry on with winter digging until the ground becomes too hard
  • Keep off the lawn in frosty weather – it can be easily damaged
XMAS TREES, WREATHS AND GREAT PRESENT IDEAS
A gentle reminder that it’s December next month and crossing ‘Order tree and wreaths’ off the list may only be one small step for man and woman, but it’s a giant leap in the Christmas build up.

As for great pressie ideas, why not give a potted fruit tree, a pair of potted bay trees or a potted soft fruit bush? Small is beautiful…
Patio Fruit Trees
Bay Trees
Christmas Wreaths
Soft Fruit Bushes
Christmas Trees
Dates for your Diary...
What fun to be able to gather for Bonfire Night – take a look at our mulled cider recipe to add the finishing touch to the party. If you are having a bonfire, though, do please remember to light it on one side first to allow wildlife such as hedgehogs to escape.
National Cranberry Day
Hmmm – well give it a go just to tick the box! Maybe go for the easier option and have a glass of cranberry juice or a dollop of cranberry jelly. If you fancy growing your own, take a look at our new soft fruit variety - Pilgrim American Cranberry potted plants.
National Tree Week
National Tree Week is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration, marking the start of the winter tree planting season (November to March each year). Planting trees while they’re dormant is the best start in their new location and – as we all know – trees are our ecological saviours, as well as the beauty and backbone of our landscape.
And last but not least…
Recipe of the Month

Ingredients for fruit mixture

  • 2 peeled sweet potatoes
  • 1 butternut squash - peeled and deseeded
  • olive oil...

 

Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6
  2. Cut the squash and sweet potato into cubes (about 3cm cubes), then toss in a large roasting tin with 1 tbsp of olive oil...
RECENT BLOGS
Maple Leaf
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: A Yearly Colour Supplement for the Eyes
 
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Grove Cross Barn, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NJ
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