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Oak Leaf Gardening Monthly Cuttings
Newsletter 18 - November 2012
What to do now

Ornamental plants

  • Now's a good time to plant roses, trees, shrubs and hedging.
  • Variegated shrubs will help light up winter days; take time to check for and remove any reverted (non-variegated) growth.
  • Check the ties on trees and standard shrubs to ensure they are secure ready for the windier winter weather.
  • Reduce the length of tall rose stems and the bulk of standard roses so they aren't damaged by the wind.
  • Cut down faded perennials, unless they have decorative seedheads, to keep borders neat over the winter.
  • Dig up any cannas, gladioli and dahlias you didn't get to last month, or put a 15cm depth of organic mulch over them for winter protection.
  • Take hardwood cuttings from dogwoods, roses, spireas, deutzias, wisterias, forsythias, Virginia creepers, buddleias and willows.
  • Continue to plant bulbs and bedding for autumn and spring colour.
  • Take root cuttings from plants such as oriental poppies, phlox, verbascum, mints, echinops and romneya.
Fruit and veg
  • This month you can still harvest apples, carrots, turnips, swedes, beetroot, celeriac, parsnips, leeks, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Crops including garlic and hardy broad beans can be sown now.
  • Cover newly sown beans and peas with cloches or similar protection to keep them warm.
  • Plant fruit trees and summer-fruiting raspberry canes.
  • Cut down fruited blackberry canes.
  • Take hardwood cuttings from gooseberries and currants.
  • Dig organic matter into bare beds so it is well incorporated before sowing in the spring.
General tasks
  • Mulch beds and borders if you didn't do so last month.
  • Collect fallen leaves, particularly from paths, lawns and ponds, and use them to make leaf mould to improve your soil.
  • Deal with suckers coming from the base of trees and shrubs by pulling them off.
  • Use any well-rotted material from your compost bins to enrich your soil and make space in the bin for autumn leaves and prunings.
  • Clean paths and patios so that algae and moss doesn't build up and make them slippery over the winter.
  • Mow the lawn if needed, but keep the cutting height raised.
  • Cover garden furniture.
  • Move non frost-resistant pots/ornaments/equipment indoors.
  • Clear gutters, ditches and drains.
Cercidiphyllum japonicumPlant of the month

Cercidiphyllum japonicum is a deciduous tree growing to around 20m. In autumn it provides a wonderful display of colour with the leaves turning to shades of orange, yellow and pink. Crush a fallen leaf in your hands and it will release the scent of burnt sugar. Find out more...

Problem of the monthFasciation

Fasciation is usually considered an oddity, rather than a problem, but it can confuse or worry gardeners who haven't seen it before. Fasciation occurs when stems, or sometimes flowers, fuse together and can appeared flattened. No one knows what causes it, but it can sometimes give surprisingly pretty results, like this 'Siamese twins' flower! Find out more...

In the news

Ban on ash imports as disease spreads

Following the discovery of the ash chalara fungus in the UK, which we reported on last month, the government have banned all ash tree/seed imports into, and all movements within, the UK. A study shows that the fungus, which causes ash dieback disease, was linked with the death of 90% of Lithuania's ash trees between 2005 and 2010. Meanwhile a Swedish report has suggested that a breeding programme could introduce ash trees with a natural resistance to the fungus.

Record daffodil planting

A new world record has been set at Lowther Castle, Cumbria, where a whopping 106,526 daffodil bulbs were planted by hand in just 3 hours. The mile of borders was planted up by 613 volunteers aged from 2 to 86.

Tasty apples and marvellous melons!

East Malling Research have succeeded in growing melons in table-top grow bags on a commercial scale, believed to be a world first. The research continues to find the best varieties to grow in the UK. Meanwhile the 'Jazz' apple variety has won the Tastiest Apple title at the National Fruit Show in Kent.

Office plants can significantly increase productivity

A study by the Dutch flower council with the Universities of Exeter and Gronigen, held at the London offices of one of the world's largest auditing companies, has shown a link between plants in the office and increased productivity. £10,000 of plants were added to one floor of the offices and resulted in a £5 million increase in productivity.


Christmas gift ideas for the green fingered

Christmas giftsChristmas is a great time to treat the gardener in your life to something special and we've been digging around to find the best of the gardening gifts for this festive season...

Veg growers love to plant unusual varieties, so search out some heirloom and heritage seeds from The Real Seed Catalogue. We like the sounds of 'Sweet Chocolate' bell peppers, vibrant 'Dragon Purple' carrots and the oak leaf shaped leaves of 'Flashy Butter Oak' lettuces.

Rocket Gardens have a range of 'instant gardens', so if you know someone who's keen to start growing their own, this could be the perfect gift. They sell packs of 'baby' plants to suit areas from window boxes to large veg patches, delivered at exactly the right time to plant them. Included in their range is a 'River Cottage' collection of plants. If you're not sure what to buy then they also sell gift vouchers, so the recipient can choose their own garden.

Thrive, a charity promoting the advantages of gardening for people with disabilities, have a selection of gardening-themed Christmas cards, including their exclusive 'Christmas Thyme' card.

Kneeling pads are useful to all gardeners, but some more so than others...we like the ones with 'Beer please' or 'A nice cup of tea please' printed on them in large print, perfect for waving hopefully towards the kitchen window when you're feeling a bit parched from all that weeding! Available from Amazon and various other stockists.

Treat a swashbuckling BBQ fan to a new implement - a cooking fork with a cutlass-style handle! It even comes complete with a cut out mask so the BBQ buccaneer can keep their identity a secret! Available from Firebox and other stockists.

The cupcake craze doesn't need to exclude the garden - The Worm That Turned is selling delicate seed cupcakes, perfect for your friends' feathered friends!

Read the full list of ideas in our blog.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


What's on this month

The nights are closing in, so take advantage of every daylight hour with these gardening events:

  • 8th November - Hedge Laying Course, Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent.
  • 10th November - Haydon's 'Dig Together Day' 2012, Community Garden, Haydon, Somerset.
  • 15th November - 'Plants Which Affect Our Lives' lecture lunch, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, Hampshire.
  • 17th November - Hedging Tree Planting for 'Dig Together Day' 2012, Crowle & Ealand Garden Club, Crowle, North Lincolnshire.
  • 21st November - Tree Planting and Aftercare Demonstration, RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Devon.
  • 22nd November - 'Trees For Year-Round Interest' Workshop, Nymans, Handcross, near Haywards Heath, West Sussex.
  • 24th November - Practical Introduction to Alpines, RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
  • 25th November - Knutsford in Bloom Planting for 'Dig Together Day' 2012, the Train Station, Knutsford, Cheshire.
  • 25th November - Townhill Wood Tree Planting Day for 'Dig Together Day' 2012, Townhill Wood, Townhill Town, Fife.
  • 27th November - House Plants Talk, Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Sheffield.