Roseland Online, November 2021
There’s no doubting one thing: the seasons move on around us regardless of everything that’s happened over the last 18 months, and our plants are telling us it’s autumn. The clocks have gone back, the autumn equinox is long past, and most of us have had the heating on at least once. We’re in full autumn throttle now. It has been a great year for tree fruits, including the apple and pear families, all of which are at their best now. Just look at the fruits on this cornus capitata – technically edible, but in our opinion, best admired rather than ingested.
At this time of year, it is very tempting to batten down the hatches and disappear inside with a cup of tea and box set or something more edifying . While the best seasons for gardening may be over for this year, we should think of gardening as a continuous process, where there is always something useful and productive to be done, and things to enjoy.
Seeing as we are inside with that cup of tea, how about planting a little something to brighten the winter months? In November, we are a teeny bit late for prepared hyacinths for Christmas flowering, but if you are not bothered about that particular deadline, you can still plant them; they will just be a little later. However, you are not too late for Narcissus Paperwhites, with their immediately recognisable scent and a bowl of those about to flower make a very economical and well-received present. Similarly, Hippeastrum (often known as amaryllis, although technically, that is not quite right) make a lovely gift; a bit more expensive though not prohibitively so, and they come in a fabulous range of colours these days, from greeny whites, through to reds and oranges. Pick a fat and firm bulb for guaranteed success. Plant in a reasonably snug pot, with at least 1/3 of the bulb proud of the grit-filled compost, and top with grit or gravel for a nice effect. Water very sparingly (ie hardly at all) until leaf shoots start to appear, then plenty of water and food for maximum effect. Voila, a lovely pressie for about a tenner.