Here we go into the second half of November. On a quick and windy walk round the garden I was astonished to see how many plants are flowering despite the time of year. Most of them, the fuchsias and salvias should have retreated underground to prepare themselves for next year. There are patio roses still in bloom and from past experience they will continue sporadically until Christmas if I keep on top of the deadheading. However, I have taken advantage of my helper’s good nature and have two of them moved to a different bed. They might need watering but at the moment the soil is damp to wet and next week promises more rain. There are also cosmos, pot marigolds and the odd astrantia looking like paper flowers. These are in addition to the cyclamen planted in full colour. As we are expecting an oil delivery soon I need to prune two clematis that are obstructing the gate. The spring flowering montana (above) that wants to take over the world will take pruning now but may be a bit sparse in spring but I am sorry to prune the Winter Beauty as its white flowers are just coming into bud. I will never plant two such vigorous climbers in the same bed again!

If you haven’t already checked the plants and structures for winter proofing now is a good time as we maybe in for some more gales. This year seems to have more windy days in autumn than usual but looking back at 2019 the wind was mentioned then so maybe things aren’t too far away from normal in the weather department even if flowering is going on longer than it should.

Tidy up the veg beds. If you are fortunate enough to grow brassicas make sure they are still firmly planted. Otherwise if you just have bare beds clear up any plant material and turn over the soil unless you have a no-dig policy which just means tidying up leaves (for leaf mould), last crops and any weeds then adding a mulch of compost for the worms to take down to improve the soil.

Bare beds? This year I have a pernicious weed. Low-growing with a small white flower that spreads and spreads. I have heard complaints from a lot of people about it as it seems we all have it. I thought it was chickweed but according to my weeds book this is a lawn problem and the statement was ‘if it gets into the beds it is easily pulled out’. If it gets into the beds? Please, mine are covered in the wretched stuff. Those who have tried to get rid of it have found that pulled out it is back the next day. Is this a mini triffid? Is it best (against all good practice) to leave it until we get a good frost? 

I’ll leave it there for now, but do keep weeding!