A sunny day, a little spare time and bags of energy finds me thinking ahead and doing the right thing in the garden. I know it’s lovely now, but it could change overnight, so anything vulnerable needs to be protected. I don’t want to be grovelling outside in the dark after the weather forecast.
I’m bringing my enormous pot of amaryllis into the spare bedroom, alongside two enamel buckets of cymbidium orchids that have been enjoying the summer outside. Both should flower just after Christmas if not given too much heat. If you want them to flower later, pop them in a frost-free shed with light for a little longer, then bring them in and give them a feed.
Succulent geeks have been lucky for the last couple of years, but echeverias, agarves and crassulas aren’t hardy, and don’t like wet anyway, so pots should be placed under a terrace table or in a cold frame, if you have one. I keep a couple of bamboo cloches to hand, just in case there’s an unexpected cold snap.
I’m leaving my lovely flowering potted salvias till the last minute, to make the most of their colour, but will pop them undercover out of the wet in Max’s garage with his buggy, and pick off fallen leaves and flowers to discourage botrytis.
I let my garden rest, untidy till the spring, to give shelter to wildlife and insects, just mulching with compost and leaf mould. I need to empty both bays to be able to start again with this year’s fall. There is danger from moulds from decaying vegetation when it’s moved, for those with asthma, lung infections or a weak immune system, so experts are advising those sufferers to wear a mask when gardening.
Although I won’t have hens till next spring, I usually cover my run with bark chippings. www.flytesofancy.co.uk are selling a great hardwood woodchip that will keep your flock clean and dry under foot over a wet winter. I rake the moss from my lawn and dry it, ready to line nestboxes, and use wood ash from my now regular evening fire to fill the dust bathing space under the henhouse.