This is time for compost. If you make your own check to see if the compost at the bottom of the heap/bin is ready and if so spread it around starting on the veg beds then the roses and other shrubs. If you are fortunate enough to have some left over mulch the flower beds as deep as you can. You can, of course, use spent compost from pots, baskets and other containers if you haven’t already done so. If you haven’t made compost before, now’s a good time to start as there’s a lot of garden prunings and weed tops to come. Don’t put perennial roots or seed heads in as these will survive and multiply merrily. Leaves can also be added but will take longer to rot. Bag them instead (see last week’s wittering).

Frost damage is imminent. This mild weather can’t go on for much longer so we should take in the really tender plants such as pelargoniums and begonias. Some of the dahlias should be stored over winter as well but if you can’t lift these or the salvias that might be borderline hardy, use up some of the compost to give them a better chance. Delphiniums, too although I have left mine over the past few years and they have survived, but that’s more luck than management.

While you can get at the beds keep weeding. You’ll be surprised how much will grow on and on in a thick frost.

The plants you take in should be allowed to dry off then take them out of the containers and cut back quite severely. You can take cuttings now if the plants look well (it’s a bit late so beware) or keep the old plants going with barely damp compost until they sprout in spring then take the cuttings.