Gardeners’ Blog – November

November is once again upon us, and our Fabulous Fireworks event is taking place on Saturday, November 4, the colours adding to the already colourful display on the trees.

We have had some high winds across the Gardens, but they have not managed to denude the trees of their leaves yet.  We are busy using our new leaf sucker to get up the huge piles of leaves.  It is a piece of machinery that is worth its weight in gold.  An added benefit is that it cuts the leaves up and so our leaf mould will be produced quite quickly: all of the cut edges make entry points for the bacteria and fungi that aid decomposition.  When you empty the trailer, the strata of leaves packed in there is very interesting – it also holds about four of our old hand-filled trailer lots in one load.  This equals more time to collect leaves and less time running back and forth to the compost bay!

Last year’s leaf mould is now a rich crumbly black and is ready to put into the Winter Border where it will form a perfect foil to the emerging spring bulbs next year. This is obviously not its main attribute: putting much-needed humus and nutrients back into the soil is its primary function.

Tender perennials are once again being lifted and placed in pots of free-draining compost in a cool, dry greenhouse.  The salvias, cannas and bananas from the Grass Garden have really made a good show this year and if we look after them now they will again next year.  We are constantly adding to our collection of salvias hoping to increase interest.

The dahlias have thrived in their new home on the Loudon Terrace, personally, I thought it would be too warm and dry for them, but they have performed well, eventually.  New varieties are being sourced so that we can add more flower types and colours.

Tender plants that cannot be brought in are being covered with hessian and straw, to help them cope with the cold weather.

The second section of the Herbaceous Border is ready to be covered in compost and dug over.  Now the students are back from half term, they will be doing this as part of their practical study, as well as digging over and planting the last of the winter bedding on the Terrace. Only another couple of thousand plants and bulbs to go…!

The plants for the Herbaceous Border are in the nursery and if the weather stays clement they may be planted this side of Christmas.

The Main Lawn has really grown well after having all that loving care and attention lavished on it in September, and it has coped very well with the huge numbers of families using it over the Halloween festivities.  It is now ready for its final cut of the year.

Most of the lawn will be fenced off later in the month to allow the installation of Christmas at the Botanical Gardens. We cannot wait to see the Gardens in a different light – we hope to see you there!