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Gardening in November 2008
Pam Pickard

Welcome to this column, it is designed to help to encourage and inspire you in your gardening endeavours.

The best place to view the garden at this time of the year seems to be through the window! But try not to be too despondent: use the time to plan your floral displays for the summer. There are some jobs to do to prepare the garden for the winter. More tips on being a greener gardener and information on a truly inspirational community garden project and suggestions for places to visit.

Jobs to do this month
This is the best time to plant tulips to prevent tulip fire affecting them, also to plant lily bulbs. Stand pots on bricks to help drainage and lag outside taps against freezing. Brighten up pots and borders with plants such as wallflowers for spring flowering. Firm up and check that stakes and supports on trees and shrubs are secure against strong winds. Protect alpines from frost with horticultural fleece.

Gather fallen leaves and place on compost or place in polythene bags and leave to make leaf mould to use as mulch in the spring. Collect and dispose of rotting fruit under trees and bushes. In the vegetable garden: clear of old plants, weeds and rotting leaves to prevent disease. Prune apple trees and blackcurrent bushes and plant broad bean seeds. Dig in organic matter to improve the soil for next year.

In the greenhouse you still have time to clean down the glass inside and outside. Stop watering succulents and cacti (except for Christmas flowering cacti) until March. Remove dead leaves and flowers from plants and collect any matter on the floor to prevent fungal diseases.

Remove and store submersible pond pumps and place a floating ball in the fishpond to prevent methane build up if it freezes over.

Greener Gardening
If everyone took on board these 5 Top Tips to encourage greener gardening it would make a huge difference!

  1. Welcome wildlife – encourage helpful wildlife by installing bug boxes, nesting boxes and bird feeders; use hedging instead of fences, plant nectar-rich plants and try to leave a patch of garden to grow wild. By doing this you will also cut down on the need for chemicals
  2. Use companion planting – placing Sage near to brassicas will protect them from the Cabbage White butterfly. Plant French or African Marigolds close to Tomatoes; they excrete a substance from their roots which rids the ground of roundworm and they attract hoverflies which feed on aphids.
  3. Switch to solar – with more modern designs and better illumination qualities, solar power for lighting up the garden paths is a must instead of electric ones.
  4. Use water widely – water plants early in the morning or in the evening when there is less evaporation. Use ‘grey water’ from the bath or washing up bowl; but don’t store this water because of the bacteria.
  5. Cut fresh flowers – grow and pick your own flowers rather than buying ones that have been shipped from abroad. Cut stems diagonally with sharp scissors and change the water often to prolong life.

 Community Garden Project
Hulme Garden Centre is situated just half a mile from the centre of Manchester and aims to promote the health and well being of the people from Hulme and Moss Side. It provides horticultural opportunities, volunteering, training and qualifications for unemployed people and free workshops.

The idea came from the residents and after two years of hard work, the garden opened in April 2000 and involves over 100 volunteers. The garden has played an important part in the area’s transformation and is a great place to relax and wander round. Members of the community across the ages work together on the garden in supervised sessions and increase their skills and knowledge.

The Hulme garden centre includes a nursery which sells plants to local people and fruit and herbs are also available to pick for a small donation and is open on Tuesday – Sunday from 11am until 5pm. Events are also put on throughout the year.

Hulme Garden Centre, 28 Old Birley Street, Hulme, Manchester M15 5FS Telephone; 0161 227 8198 log onto; www.hulmegardencentre.org.uk

Places to visit
29-30 December RHS Garden
Harlow Carr, Cragg Lane, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 1QB Telephone; 01423 565 418
The Magic of Christmas – a magical weekend of family activities, carols and themed festive fun. Includes Santa’s grotto and a Christmas craft workshop.

All items mentioned are available in most garden centres. As part of the greener gardening features; next month will feature an article on alternative materials for driveways and paths.

Photographs are taken by Pam Pickard.

© Pam Pickard 1/11/2008

 

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