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November brings its own share of challenges to the garden-lover. You might have to arouse your passion in order to overcome dreary surroundings. Drizzle, mist, frost and dark hours at both ends of the day contrive to banish garden activity to memory apart from weekends and non-working days of course. Here's seven ideas to brighten up your life at a tricky time of year - late autumn.
Planning your garden
When the weather is silvery, frosty and misty, what could be nicer than reading about plants and gardens from the comfort of home. Nothing can stop a gardening soul from planning new additions and ideas for their own patch. What better reason to sit by the fireside in a comfy chair? Warmth is essential, so if you are lucky enough to have an open fire; a woodburning stove; a cooking stove or central heating; throw another (possibly) metaphorical log on the fire and settle down for a piece of you time to indulge your gardening passion.
Set the garden alight with flowers
Next, you might want to gaze at your garden through the gloom to see if anything is setting it alight. Are there splashes of sunshine glowing like embers in the November dusk? There are several plants that can appear to cast a welcoming glow, and perhaps none are better than Mahonia which is just approaching its peak season of loveliness as winter draws nearer. The flowers of Mahonia actually look like rays of sunshine.
The yellow spikes of Mahonia flowers beam joy into dark corners and shady spots. What's more, Mahonia is a wonderful plant for bees and insects which are trying to brave the outdoor elements at this time of year. The delightful scent of this evergreen shrub is reminiscent of lily-of-the-valley so don't plant it too far from the house so that you can enjoy the heady aroma on days when the air is wafting your way.
Scents of the November garden
Then there's scent, which reaches deep down into parts of the soul that arouse plant passion! Viburnum x bodnantense Dawn is now producing sugar-pink flowers with the most remarkable smell. It's definitely worth having a winter for! And the spidery delights of witch hazel (Hamamelis) which appear on bare stems like the strangest alien creatures of your dreams also have the most remarkable perfume.
You don't even need to look in order to know if you have that most desirable creature of all: Daphne bholua Jacqueline Postill. She spreads her enticing aroma across many metres of garden and is perhaps, the finest delight of the season. Perhaps the most memorable scent you will ever encounter!
Crispy cornflake leaves are fun!
Another November delight not to be ignored is the opportunity to step outside and make the most of crispy leaves underfoot. This can be regarded as one of the most beautiful times of the year. The golden leaves are like cornflakes and low sunlight makes a wonderful spectacle as it shines through shrubs and trees. Get the kids outside and they will love what autumn has brought.
Plant plentiful bulbs!
Don't miss the opportunity to plant bulbs and lots of them! This is a great time to snap up some bargains as garden outlets sell off their unsold bulb stock. They will still grow and flower, provided they have been kept dry and cool. It's the perfect time to plant tulips, which are some of the last to be plunged under the soil reader for a glorious spring display. Perhaps you can dream up a few unique colour combinations which will make your creation stand out from the crowd.
Flashing, popping fireworks!
Finally, no November is complete without a few fireworks and this is a great reason to enjoy the outdoors. Step out to partake in some sort of firework fest, then enjoy traditional fireworks food including jacket potatoes, soup and mulled wine or spiced cider. The perfect accompaniment to the silvery season!
It's never too early to indulge in a little garden-related festive shopping and one thing that most gardeners have in common is a love of plants and gardens.
Shopping for friends should be a pleasure, especially if they are garden lovers. November provides an opportunity to see what's new and perhaps indulge in a few flowering fantasies
It's a great month for snapping up some Christmas gifts whilst they are available. Gardeners gift kits containing twine, copper tape, plant markers, spare secateurs and gloves of course are always well received. Treat yourself to something too, you probably deserve it!
www.perfectplants.co.uk - for all your gardening needs - and your friends too!