As the gardening year draws to a close

Rose hips of Madame Gregor Strachlyn

The majority of the jobs in the November garden include cutting back the dead growth on perennials, pruning roses and shrubs, mulching and manuring and taking stock of the gardening year that is fast spent. Many of us have spent much more time at home this year and as a result, more time in r gardens. I hope that you have had time to reconnect with your garden space, that you were able to stand and stare and to see the wonder, not only of the plants, trees and flowers but at the ecosystem that your garden supports

Here at the Moosbach Garden we have harvested the pumpkins which have been left in the Autumn sun to harden off, the beetroot, beans, courgettes. pickling cucumbers have all been preserved in jars, the potatoes and carrots have been stored in a cold cellar in sand. The fruit has been either turned into jam or stored in a cold, windowless cellar and should see us through until the end of February. It feels natural and fitting in this climate of uncertainty to have this bounty stored in our cellars like a squirrel storing hazelnuts for the winter ahead.

There are some jobs that you can get on with now if you haven’t already done them, here in the Moosbach Garden we are running behind with these jobs. Here are some things that you can do now.

Tidying up dead growth on perennials

Dead summer growth on perennials can be cut back and added to the compost pile. To keep the correct balance between maintaining the health of perennials and providing places for insects to overwinter follow these simple guidelines. If the dead growth is likely fall and rot on the crown of the plant then it should be removed to reduce the risk of damage to the plant crown, likely candidates are delphiniums, rudbeckia, echinacea and perennial peonies ( don’t cut back tree or intersectional peonies). It the growth is rigid and likely to stay so then leave it as a place for insects to overwinter, likely candidates are Phlox and other plants with woody stems. Remember that our gardens are mini eco systems and by welcoming this bio diversity we are helping the planet rather than hastening its destruction. Please consider leaving piles of twigs, old branches and logs for wildlife too, it all helps.

Plant spring flowering bulbs and plants.

Wallflowers are one of my favourite springtime flowers, we grow a variety called Persian Carpet from seed. Wall flowers are biennial plants, meaning that you sows the seeds in the first year and they flower in the second. Wallflowers should be big enough to plant out now and this is usually done once you have put the garden to bed for winter. In the UK you should be able to buy wallflowers cheaply at most garden centres and I would recommend the variety Persian Carpet if you can get it for its rich hues of red, gold, orange and yellow. Wallflowers are also an invaluable source of nectar for early bumble bees and insects.

Plant trees, roses and shrubs

Autumn is the perfect time for planting trees, shrubs and roses. The soil is still warm enough to allow for root growth and as these plants are not having to support leaves they can put all their energy into producing healthy root systems. You can buy bare trees, shrubs and roses from November onwards and they are usually a little cheaper than their potted counterparts. For our part, the Moosbach Garden will be offering a wonderful selection of bare root and potted David Austin roses from December. Please click here to see our selection.

Add organic matter to improve soil structure

The addition of well rotted farmyard manure is one of the best gifts that you can give your garden. All of the goodness it contains will leech into the soil and over the winter the worms will incorporate the remaining material into the soil improving the structure and the soils ability to maintain moisture. Find a local farmer or stables and apply a good manure mulch, I would recommend at least a depth of 4 inches. Supplement this feed next year by making your own comfrey or nettle tea to feed your garden. Avoid using manmade chemicals if possible.

Move plants around whilst they are dormant and split any perennials

The best time to move and divide perennials is whilst they are dormant, as long as each section of plants has some root you should have viable plants come the Spring. Moving and dividing plants in their dormant phase is less stressful for plants as they are not in active growth or supporting leaves. Prime candidates are Phlox, rudbeckia, echinacea and peonies.

Plant sweet Pea seeds and Christmas flowering daffodils

You can still plant sweet pea seeds and once they have germinated they can be overwintered in a cold frame and once the warm Spring weather kicks in they will romp away. Christmas flowering miniature white daffodils can be potted up and once they have poked their heads through the soil can be bought inside for flowering at Christmas.

Don’t forget the birds this Winter

Winter can be very hard for our feathered friends, leaving out a good supply of nuts, sunflower seeds, fat balls and water is essential in ensuring their survival. Here at the Moosbach Garden we grow a selection of berry trees to provide Winter food for birds, including holly and Crab apples. We also leave the last roses so that the rose hips can develop and provide food for the birds. They also look great when the garden is frosty.

New to the Moosbach Garden shop

Following the success of our David Austin roses and the numerous requests from our customers we have expanded our selection to include 4 standard roses. We are offering the following varieties as standard roses:

Gertrude Jekyll (Pink)

Graham Thomas (Yellow)

Desdemona (White)

Darcy Bussell (Red)

We only have limited numbers though but you can pre-order both standard and bsuh roses on our website.

Andrew Huber

I am an English gardener who has been living in the Black Forest in Germany for 4 years. Slowly I am transforming 16 acres of mountain into a garden. Feel free to email me if you have any gardening questions and I'll see if I can help.

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