The dahlias are finally finished! The recent drop in temperatures and the rain was the last straw for them, but oh boy were they ever fantastic, it is let me remind you November! We’ve been baked with above average temperatures this year and I’m talking about October mind you, which has allowed almost all of the cut flowers in my garden to keep on going, zinnias, cosmos even the roses. It’s true they don’t last quite so long in the vase but having home grown cut flowers in November is unheard of. The garden does not quite know what to do with itself. The calendar however keeps marching on and Christmas will soon be upon us.
I do love this time of year while there is still plenty to be done in the ever damp and darkening garden there is time to relax a little and reflect on the gardening year and plan for the new one. I see a lot of snuggling up with a blanket in front of a fire with plenty of hot tea in my future.
It is also the time of the Christmas market, twinkling lights, and shiny baubles, the aroma of mulled wine and the beauty of the white Christmas Carol Hellebore all call us back to our local nurseries, garden centres and markets. This week I’ll be at l’Heure du Thé in Chéserex at the seasonal event of all things lovely for the home and garden. This afternoon from 16:00 is the second day of the magical transformation of the Trélex nursery R. Jaggi into a floral celebration for the holiday season. The go to for Christmas fun is of course Schilliger in Gland where this year’s display is all about the secret garden of Mrs Claus. The team at Miss Daisy in Céligny will open their doors for their Christmas market Noël à la gare on 24 & 25 November. Keep an eye out at your local nursery for special openings and events for advent.
While there are many Christmas and Advent themed activities planned over the coming weeks don’t forget to check out the plants. It is the ideal time to get trees, shrubs, roses and perennial plants into the ground before the really cold weather is upon us and the ground freezes. There are lots of beautiful displays of plants to give you inspiration for your late autumn and winter garden. DIY Home centres while filled with seasonal decorations are also trying to empty their stock of plants and you may well find a deal!
If you haven’t already started, get planting those bulbs. Whether into pots for a mobile display in the spring, to be naturalised into the lawn or into the gaps in the borders now is the time to get them planted. The rule of thumb is plant at a depth of three times the size of the bulb, cover them up and forget about them until the spring when they flower.
If like me you have lots of fallen leaves try to rake them up off the lawn as often as you can and turn them into leaf mould. I mow over them breaking them up and throw them into a dedicated leaf bin, then I give them a soak before covering them up with a lid like an old piece of carpet. They can also be placed into black sacks, close the bags and puncture them before storing them out of the way where they will be rained upon. By the end of next summer you’ll have your own stock of leaf mould to be used as mulch.
I have a collection of drying flowers throughout the house, cosmos, sweet peas, zinnias and scabiosa. I’ve kept the prettiest varieties that flowered this year and I’ve decided to collect the seeds and try to grow them on next spring. You may recall earlier this summer on instagram I complained about the cosmos only being orange, well I was wrong, the later flowering cosmos turned out to be the pretty white and pink ones I was expecting, patience is a great quality that I sometimes lack when it comes to the garden. So I’ll be trying to replicate my favourites next year and I’ll be careful to label them as early or late flowering so as not to be annoyed!
Here are a few of the other jobs I’ll be getting to this month. Cleaning and bringing in the garden furniture in need of storage over winter; checking the state of my big pots and popping lifters beneath them so the water can drain freely and hopefully prevent shattered pots from frost; draining the hoses and storing them for the winter; cleaning up the edges around the beds and terraces, covering tender plants and pots with horticultural fleece, restocking the bird seed so I can feed the birds during the winter, servicing the lawn mower and finally cleaning the tools and putting them away for the winter. I’m always on the look out for weeds and have been know to grab a kitchen knife to pull one up when I see one so that is a forever job!
Enjoy the end of this gardening season before the days become too short and cold. I wish you joy and peace this holiday season and celebrations with loved ones near and far, IRL or on zoom – precious moments.