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..
Nathan James Dodd
Robert Hall, senior partner at GardenSite.co.uk has been elected to sit on the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) Judging Panel for 2017. The news was announced on 31st March 2017 on the GIMA website.
April, particularly if you are on holiday over Easter, is the time when gardeners, whatever their level of enthusiasm and skill, want to get into the garden. Andy Taylor looks at the gardening jobs that can be achieved this month.
With rising water temperature and kinder weather, April is a good month for pond maintenance and Dan Everton takes a look at the jobs that need to be done this month.
Pay attention to your lawn in the spring and Andy Taylor reckons you will receive dividends later in the year.