It’s time to tuck the garden up into bed. Tender annuals will have succumbed to the frosts by now and need to go straight to the compost bin. Likewise the drooping brown leave still clinging to the stems of hardy perennials that have given their best for the year.
There are exceptions to this rule though: Phlomis russelliana looks absolutely wonderful in the depths of winter with its balls of flowers covered in snow all the way up to the top of its stems. This is a great perennial which should be planted more often. It is an extremely good ground coverer with large heart-shaped leaves and pale yellow flowers. A lovely contrast when planted next to Golden Hakone Grass.
Penstemons need to keep their leaves on too as these will give them some protection over winter if we are lucky enough to have a milder one than last year.
Traditionally, this has always been the best time to plant trees and shrubs and yet the allure of the Garden Centres with their extensive array of plants in shiny black pots, have made us change our ways. They may not look so glamorous at first, but bare-rooted trees and hedging plants will bound away next spring if planted now, and save you plenty of money for Christmas.
If you use herbs as much as I do, winter can be a little dull without them. Cover parsley and rocket over winter, pot up some mint and bring it into the warmth and it should keep you going until spring. A hot mug of fresh mint tea is very refreshing.
This is a good time to order seed catalogues. For a change, why not try some heritage, rare varieties or wildflower seeds. You never know what might turn up and surprise you!