November In The Garden



It is that time of year… some say it’s bloody depressing. But I like it. I don’t know why particularly… maybe it’s that I get home [a little] earlier… maybe it’s that I get to burn the timber that I have mamaged to amalgamate over the last eight months or so… I don’t know. 😉

To the garden… mine and yours, this is probably the most important month/ season, for me, in the entire calender. It is what I do here that will pay most dividends come next season. So once again, this is what will I be doing in my garden this month and what I recommend you do in yours…

new plant trees trees ireland trees dublin

Top of my list is my trees. I’m now in a position where they can be cut back without all of that foliage in the way and so some crown raising will take place [removing of the lower branches…]. I’ve also got a batch that served a purpose until the others surrounding them matured and so I’ve got to move some and relocate others… if I don’t do it this year I am literally up the creek and next year it will become an impossible task. Stakes and straps at the ready….

berry fruits birds fruit cotoneaster-1

With the trees in mind and leave fall in place… it is time once again for the bird feeders to go back out. That and I need to get some other types of berrying plants into the garden to help those birds who don’t go to sunnier spots for their winter hols. Looks like a trip to farm supplies shop is looming….. or do I still have some in the shed…

In other news…. 😯 The apples on my trees had started to drop. It is at this point that the apples are about as ready as you will get…. I’ve picked them all now – except for the smaller fruits [about the size of a plum as they won’t taste so good – best leave them to nature]. Once again when the leaves fall off some select pruning will be required, removing dead and diseased wood and then the branches that over cross each other. If you planted yours in the last two years  make sure the straps and buckles aren’t too tight.

winter-colour colourful pots cyclamen 

If you are looking for some instant colour you’ll find there’s tonnes of it to be found – don’t those pots just cheer you right up 🙂 Some instant colour – from the plant department can however be bought in the form of ornamental cabbages and cyclamens. Add them to existing beds that need a little sprucing or redo those hanging baskets you took down last month…. g’wan you deserve to treat yourself!!

hedges lavender creative

Outside of that you [and I] still have to get those hedges cut… the plants still need to be trimmed back… and with that done… the mulch has to go down. This will leave the garden pretty much with its groove back on so it doesn’t look like a brand spanking new hair cut… more a well maintained garden, come Nanny & Poppa calling around for turkey and mulled wine for the celebrations December 25th 😉

Finally, trees and bulbs!! and finally [finally 😆 ]… herbs. Crop them and what you can’t dry store… pop them in ice cube trays… pour water on top and freeze. You’ll need them for cooking that big bird in a months time and believe me there once you move from dry herbs to fresh…. you’ll never go back. 

Have I forgotten anything…. leave me a note and I’ll add it to the list.


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Coral Spot


coral spot

caused by the fungus Nectria cinnabarina these almost illuminous orange pustules [about 1mm diameter] take over the surface of the bark a little almost like having the measles…. [if you know what I mean] except for plants.

How they get there is quiet simple… affecting living or dead material the spores enter through damaged or necrotic wood and are usually spread by rain splash or/ and also from cutting/ pruning tools that haven’t been cleaned properly.

There is no real/ chemical control for this. But good garden hygiene is generally the best place to start. In it does infect, prune back to well below the last piece of infected material.

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trees – crown raising, topping or training


There should be no question of whether one ‘tops’ a tree. Trees should first be selected based upon a horticulturally educated basis. That is the right tree for the right place rather than a choice based on price. In practice generally – the shorter time a tree must spend growing in nursery to become a saleable plant the cheaper it is. Cheaper does, particularly in the case of trees does *not* mean better value.

However, when that tree you bought comes back to haunt you, the oirish thing to do is to ‘top’ the tree. No! I say.

The problem with this is that the auxins or the growth hormones will not not push to the growing point [tip] of the tree but down and then out the sides. Thus one ends up with a tree that takes up too much space and results in the appearance of an overgrown bush. That’s not bad practice, if you own the Phoenix Park…

When trees are quite young – I start pruning them early because I want movement of light through them. I want them [in theory] like a telegraph pole and then to start to produce foliage above that point. For fruiting trees this would be extremely different but they generally should not grow so tall and you also need to be able to reach the fruit. For a while they will look a little ‘scrawney’ but long term wise – it is the best thing to do.

The reality is also that if the mass/ weight above which the branches start – is greater than that below – then eventually it will not be supported by that below; the branches therefore will shed weight [more a theory of gravity] and the tree will naturally drop limbs. Imagine giving a ‘jockey back’ to ten people and trying to walk – they will start to fall off or you will be brought down! So in ‘crown raising’ early on, a thicker girth [the width of the stem] is encouraged; one which will support the branches above and inevitably less work of a chainsaw like nature will be required later on. It is I suppose training a tree rather than solving an issue.

I should therefore need nothing more than my secateurs for the first few years. Mine is a felco no. 30. The swiss [made] army knife of the horticultural world. Very deserved of a mention because with these you can replace every single piece individually – when the spring goes – one replaces only the spring. I have this one about eight years now… as you can see!

My advice: choose the right tree for the right place with a good idea of what type or style you like. Buy good healthy disease free stock ensuring that it has its plant passport where necessary. Take good sound advice – don’t mind Mary Maginity and the book she bought that says…. Garden Centres and gardening groups [et cetera] will give more relevant free advice that is probably more specific to you and your exact requirement.