With only a few months' training under her belt, GardenSite's own Flori Bosnigeanu took part in this year's Great Birmingham Run, raising over £500 for the city's Children's Hospital.
Nathan James Dodd suggests that there are plenty of gardening jobs that need to be done in November, from why you shouldn't throw away your fallen leaves to how to take care of your vegetable patch.
With autumn winds blowing leaves all over the garden there might be a temptation to burn them. However, if you sweep them off the lawn and paths and store in spiked black bags, this time next year you'll have lovely fibrous water retentive leaf mould.
The month when there is 'No sun, no moon, no morn, no noon' is just the right time to plant bare rooted trees, shrubs and hedging and a whole range of fruit including raspberries, gooseberries, currents and grape vines. In freezing weather protect the roots with sacking until the soil is easier to work.
Don't stint on planting perennials and there is no reason to cut down existing hardy varieties. Their shape will add structure to the garden in winter and the seeds are a useful source of protein for the birds.
Thoroughly clean your greenhouse, a brush and washing up liquid will do a good job in eliminating algae on the glass. Then if you are using the greenhouse to protect tender plants over the winter, install bubble wrap from our Autumn Gardening Shop to insulate the glazing.
If you suspect any 'hardy' plants will not survive very cold weather, cover with fleece or a good thick mulch. Tender plants should be moved into a greenhouse or garage. Plants originating from those wonderful places where warmth is a near all year round occurrence, such as bananas and tree ferns, need to be well wrapped up in bubblewrap or hessian before the frost sets in.
Don't forget to discourage famished pigeons by netting any brassicas. At the same time throw any yellowing leaves into the compost bin and make sure the stems are firmed in. Cauliflowers also need frost protection by folding leaves over the curd.
Also on the vegetable patch, if your rhubarb was a bit limp or hasn't delivered decent stems over the year, divide it with a spade and replant with well rotted organic matter. Sow early broad beans under cloches or in pots under a cold frame. Garlic should also go in now before the ground gets too wet. Particularly if you suffer from clubroot, give the earth a good dressing with lime.
Any canes can be put away until next year, after cleaning them. Once the last crop has been picked, dig the patch over, try and remove perennial weeds and leave it for the winter rains and frost to do their magic.
If you have a fruit cage, check it over for damage and it's usually a good idea to remove the netting in case of snow. Also make sure tree stakes and ties are good enough to survive the winter.
Biennials such as wallflowers may now be planted out into spring bedding. Give the lawn some attention by raking or using a leaf grabber to clear any leaves, spiking and covering with an autumn dressing high in phosphate and potash. It's also good to keep mowing if dry weather allows but avoid walking on it when it is frozen.
Hardwood cuttings (from forsythia, viburnum, buddleia, vines, honeysuckle etc or fruit such as gooseberries) should also be keeping you busy. Once the last leaf has dropped, make a clean sloping cut below a bud and take a cutting about 9 inches long. Cut off the top growth just above a bud. Place the cutting into a compost filled pot or, if you have several, outside in line in a trench, leaving about 3 inches peeping out. Replant them next year in open ground, and then transplant into a permanent position the following year..
With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.
Our garden centre has been part of the local community for over 60 years, so when one of our partners, David Coton, received a request to donate a Christmas tree to a nearby hospice, he had no hesitation in helping them out.
Many people believe that Christmas would not have the same festive feel without the scent of a 'real' Christmas tree. They're naturally fresh, giving off a lovely aroma, and here Martyn Loach gives advice on which ones to buy..
There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.