Welcome to the November edition of Fiveways Gardens.

If the wind hasn't blown the leaves all away, make a point of getting out into the countryside or one of the big gardens open to the public, like the National Trust or English Heritage gardens, and experience the colours of autumn.  Our own small urban gardens are hardly at their best at this time of year, as they are just too small to factor in very much autumn / winter interest.  However, the big managed gardens, for example, Borde Hill, Sheffield Park, Nymans or High Beeches, have the space to feature plants that are peaking now. 

Back at home,  an easy but important job to do right now is to make sure that all plants growing in containers and pots can drain.  In dry weather, it makes sense to sit them on saucers to help prevent them drying out, but take all the saucers and trays away now, or you'll drown your plants.  Also consider buying (or finding) those little clay ‘feet' that pots can sit on - this not only aids free draining, but if we get freezing weather, it'll help prevent pots cracking.

Take long forgotten bird feeders down, give them a wash, and re-fill them.  Birds come to rely on us more and more - and most of us are cheered by seeing birds strut their stuff in our gardens.

Over the past few weeks, there's a question that has cropped up half a dozen or so times.  "Is this a good time of year to do the garden?"  Locally to us, the answer is  "yes".  So long as heavy frosts for days at a time aren't forecast, there's not a lot that can't be done at the moment. 

With deciduous plants shedding their leaves we have access to walls, fences and sheds that might need maintaining, painting or even replacing.  There's a wide range of trellis, fencing and storage solutions available, in all sorts of different materials and designs.

For those of you that have been considering bigger plans, like maybe updating a tired patio, now's a good time to get on with this.  It's usually the first warm weather of spring that gets people motivated to sort their gardens out, but why not get ahead of the crowd.

Finally a reminder to check bonfires for wildlife, like hibernating hedgehogs, frogs and toads before lighting them.  Any pots, buckets, bowls etc not in regular use, should be put away or on their sides over winter, so they can't trap unsuspecting frogs, who are great at finding water, but then sadly can't escape.  

Best wishes,


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