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Rain, Rain, Go Away?

Having wished for rain back in September when everything seemed so dry, I suspect many of us are now fed up with the constant deluges. Today's howling winds have made it singularly unpleasant outside. At least our canals, rivers and reservoirs are being replenished! I think the constant rain and firm understanding that is now well and truly Autumn has been a shock to the system after the unprecedented warmer temperatures in early October. Many plants had been lulled into a sense of false timing and started putting on new growth or starting to bud. That has now been 'nipped in the bud' - sorry for the pun. Nevertheless the job of clearing leaves, dead vegetable plants and frost-nipped dahlias begins. While it is important to leave many plants for winter structure and as food for the birds and remaining insects, do be careful to remove things like rose leaves that have been hit by black spot and to clear the crowns of herbaceous plants of fallen leaves as these can promote the spread of disease or cause rot. As always, it is that fine balance! Read our November Jobs in the Garden for more information on what we should be doing (when and if the rain stops).

Now is peak bulb-planting time especially for spring-flowering bulbs such as crocus, narcissi, iris and tulips to name but a few. Many bulb companies will offer bulk discounts and/or free postage to clear stock. It is worth taking the time to choose some new varieties and colour combinations particularly for pots to brighten up those early spring days. Creating bulb lasagnes of tulips, crocus, muscari and scilla are lovely ideas of extending the flowering time and creating different heights. Most of the bulbs can then be planted out into the garden once they have finished flowering giving them another chance next year. And if you aren’t hard at work gardening, you can probably just catch the end of autumn colour displays at RHS Wisley, Winkworth Arboretum or Ramster (to name a few).

At our AGM in October, nurserywoman and author Sally Gregson talked about plants that are ideal for those more difficult areas in the garden – dry shade and damp patches. Some of her top tips included Epimediums, ferns (Athyrium, Asplenium, Dryopteris), Brunnera, Bergenia, Hydrangea and particular types of geraniums. It was terrific to have such a knowledgeable plantswoman share her favourites and draw our attention to a few more unusual plants. If any of you would like a list of her plant suggestions contact me at

We would like to thank everyone who joined us that evening. We had an excellent turnout with nearly 60 members. The existing council was voted back in but sadly we are now without a Secretary and would love some additional help planning events throughout the year. If you or someone you know has a few hours a month to help, please contact Sheri on as we would be grateful for any help!

And if you are new to the area and interested in gardening and plants why not join us for our Christmas party. Always good fun!

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