Welcome to the November edition of Fiveways Gardens

What's a great, low maintenance way to improve your front garden?   Plant a hedge.

Yes, there's a bit of effort involved to make it happen, but gardeners can be less busy over winter, so could do it for you if you prefer.  

Chosen carefully, hedges are less maintenance than a boring fence and will last much longer.  Add to that, how much more attractive they are to you and your neighbours, plus benefits to birds, bees, moths, butterflies etc...and there's little reason not to plant one.  Plenty of hedging plants are happy in a bit of shade and over winter you can buy bare root plants for about a few pounds each.  Do make sure you can irrigate them in the first few summers to get them established; after that, they'll take care of themselves apart from an occasional trim.  Consider putting a small water butt next to the downpipe so you're not carrying water through the house.  A bit of trellis around it is an opportunity for a beautiful, scented climber, and you're harvesting rainwater that would otherwise just go down the drain.  It's not expensive to rig up some pipe and leaky hose to take the overflow straight to the plants too... 

Top job for November is planting tulips (and other spring flowering bulbs if you've not got round to it yet).  Although most bulbs want a sunny spot, I've found that in their first year they'll flower heartily in some shade, bringing light and drama in those dark areas of our garden.  I'm trying Tulip Spring Green on the shady side of my garden this year, along with Allium unifolium and Cowanii group which will follow them in June.  

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.  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. 

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. 

Best wishes,


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