November 2011                                                                             Back to October


Tuesday 1st

6 to 14 to 6°C. Sunny intervals with dark clouds but no rain. Cleared in the evening.


Removed the fine net from the fruit cage. This needs to be done each winter as if it snows the weight would collapse the stucture of aluminium poles and rods. It will go back on next spring before any fruit ripens. The pigeon net stays on all the time to stop them eating the broccolli, kale and cabbages.


Continued digging the trench for the hedge. I should finish tomorrow.


Wednesday 2nd

6 to 14 to 12°C. A very dull but mild day with a blustery breeze.


Finished digging the trench. Next job was to turn over and break up the soil at the bottom of the trench, which I was surprised that I also managed to finish before dark.


Thursday 3rd

10 to 16 to 10°C. Another very dull humid mild day with a few glimpses of the sun in the afternoon but some heavy showers in between.


Moved 15 barrow-loads of compost to cover the loosened soil in the bottom of the trench and then another 15 barrow-loads to pile up near the trench to use for mulching after the hedge has been planted. Will move another 15 loads tomorrow which will empty the oldest of the five compost bins so that I can turn the other four and make room for more shredding. Or I will if the forecast rain doesn't affect us too much.


Then we need to wait for the hedge plants to arrive. This depends on when the people I have ordered them from are able to dig them as bare root.


Friday 4th

10 to 15 to 10°C. Misty in the morning with a few sunny spells by lunchtime. Raining by 4pm.


Pat helped my move the rest of the compost out of the oldest bin and I had moved around half of the next bin into it before the rain came.


Saturday 5th

6 to 12 to 6°C. A brighter day. The wind has moved round to the north so feeling a lot fresher.


Finished turning the compost from the four bins into the next all along the line. With having very little rain during the late summer it is very dry and not really warming up very well - it certainly hasn't shrunk to half its original size like it usually does. So I watered each bin with 6 watering cans (90L) of water. It seemed to have all been adsorbed so maybe I will soak it some more tomorrow.


Sunday 6th

2 to 9 to 1°C. Clear and sunny with a northerly breeze.


Spent most of the morning raking and sweeping up leaves. Such a nice day so went for a walk in the afternoon.


Looks like we may have a frost tonight.


Monday 7th

-2 to 9 to 8°C. Frosty start and a miserable grey day but dry. Very different to yesterday.


The frost has killed most of the bedding plants so spent the afternoon pulling them up down the drive. Then started to dig the ground over. We are changing our planting plans for the bed down the drive next year. I have ordered some large herbaceous plants (Hemerocallis, Aster, Bell Flower, Penstemon, Platycodon, Echinacea, Scabious, Lupin, Achillea, Marguerite, Polemonium, Alcea, Delphinium etc) to fill the space where the now dead grasses and buddleia were. Maybe a little less work than summer bedding? though we will still need some of that as well.


Tuesday 8th

8 to 10 to 8°C. Another miserable gray day but this time with light drizzle from time to time.


At least the drizzle slowed down for a couple of hours in the afternoon so I could carry on clearing the bed adjacent to the drive. Looks like there will be plenty of room for my plan to grow perennials here though first I need to make sure I get rid of every tiny piece of convolvulus root!!


Wednesday 9th

8 to 13 to 12°C. Slightly brighter day but still overcast with some light drizzle.


Carried on clearing the bed, expecially of convolvulus..


Thursday 10th

9 to 12 to 9°C. Still overcast but dry most of the time


Similar day; similar job


Friday 11th

9 to 10 to 9°C. Very overcast and humid with dark clouds. Eventually started to rain and continued late into the night.


Went on my annual visit to the doctor and, as usual, even though I was only there for 10 minutes, the chemicals from the receptionists and other patients made me ill for the rest of the day with asthma, fatigue and aching. Am I the only one who goes to his doctor to be ill rather than be better?


Saturday 12th

6 to 13 to 11°C. Awoke to a much better day with sunny intervals and a light southerly breeze.


Feelling better by the afternoon so started on the next job. We started to dig up the daffodils from the bed in front of the conservatory.  They need thinning out and planting deeper every 5 years or so. It should have been done last year at this time but the very cold weather had started by then.


About half of them will be separated into individual bulbs and then replanted in two long rows along the back of the bed covered with around 10cm of soil. The rest will be planted along the front of  the new hedge when it comes, hopefully before the end of the year.


Sunday 13th

8 to 13 to 8°C. Sunny intervals still with the southerly breeze.


Continued digging and redistributing the daffodils in the bed next to the conservatory and then did the same with the bluebells in the front of the same bed and crocuses along its edge. Ended up with a large number of both daffodils and bluebells to plant later in front of the new hedge, For the time being they are in crates covered with black polythene to keep out the light which would cause them to prematurely sprout.


Its strange how things nearly always turn out right in the end. The very cold weather last year prevented me from doing this job and  brought forward the replacement of the cypress hedge. Without the cold weather we would have had nowhere to put all those spare bulbs last year after digging them up.


Monday 14th

8 to 10 to 9°C. Back to dull and dreary with heavy overcast sky but staying dry.


The perennials I ordered came today, along with some bulbs, hyacinth and free daffodils and tulips. Rather than plant out the perennials in the bed which I am preparing for them I planted them into suitable sized pots to place in a cold frame till they get going next spring; then I will plant them into their permanent home.


Tuesday 15th

5 to 10 to 7°C. A few sunny intervals but mainly cloudy.


Planted the 60 hyacynths and 30 narcissus and 30 tulips in 7.5L pots to go on the paved area behind the conservatory.They should give a good show and perfume next spring.

Pat tidied up the herb garden and cut down the scabious behind the woodshed. Tomorrow she tells me we should get our 1000th egg since she got the 3 chickens in June last year.


Wednesday 16th

5 to 7 to 6°C. Thin cloud with a brisk SE breeze making it feel more like 3°C


Two eggs today so that makes 1001. Kept warm by turning over some of the cleared land, including the salads bed in front of the greenhouse.


Thursday 17th

3 to 11 to 9°C. Thin broken cloud and quite sunny.


Dead headed the chrysanthemums after Pat picked yet another vase full of enormous blooms; and there are plenty more to come.  It was definitely a good idea to take them into the polytunnel earlier than usual though the mild dry weather might have let them continue in good condition outside this year, though it has also been quite windy.

Moved more chrysanthemums inside, this time the short stemmed ones. There are still yet more to flower with some of the white ones only just starting. Moved these into the narrow bed in front of the house


Friday 18th

8 to 14 to 8°C. Slightly more overcast with a mild southerly breeze.


Continued to tidy up the garden and polytunnel.


Saturday 19th

4 to 10 to 3°C. Overcast with cold southerly breeze.


Kept warm by sawing and splitting more firewood.


Sunday 20th

4 to 10 to 8°C. Misty to start. Brighter later but still very autumnal.


More wood to saw and split.


Monday 21st

9 to 10 to 9°C. A miserable misty and drizzly day.


Tuesday 22nd

8 to 12 to 1°C. Started misty but cleared by lunchtime to broken cloud which also cleared by nightfall. Looks like we might have frost tonight.


The new hedge and pear tree are coming next Monday. Cleared what used to be the 'buddleia jungle' in the corner next to the vegetable garden near the road. Most of the buddleia died last winter and Pat has complained for years about how they seed into the vegetable beds so I have only left one of them still there. The space cleared will suit the new pear tree.


Wednesday 23rd

0 to 10°C. Frosty start with broken cloud becoming more cloudy but milder as the day progressed.


Finished clearing the new area near the road. The only part of the garden still needing clearing is behind the polytunnel. With Pat being at home all the time and me having more time and feeling much fitter this will be the first time we have the most of the garden under control for nearly 20 years!!


Thursday 24th

9 to 12 to 11°C. Sunny intervals with dark clouds. Becoming windy later moving more to the west. Rain by midnight.


Lots of oak leaves to sweep up and place on the compost heap before the wind blew up.


Friday 25th

3 to 12 to 3°C. Sunny intervals with a few spots of rain. Quite windy later in the day.


Pruned the fruit trees, cherries, pears and apples. Cut off the top branches of the two big apple trees - they have got so high they are impossible to pick.


Saturday 26th

4 to 12 to 11°C.  Cloudy with a cold westerly wind and occasional showers.


Got confirmation that the hedge is coming on Monday. We are ready for its arrival. I hope the weather will be.


Sunday 27th

14 to 10 to 1°C. Rained a little overnight but cleared to long sunny intervals by the morning. Temperature dropping, especially after dusk.


Back to cutting and splitting wood.


Monday 28th

1 to 8 to 12°C. The opposite of yesterday. Clear and cold in the morning steadily clouding over and warming as the day progressed.


The hedging plants, canes and pear tree came at lunchtime so unpacked it and we started the long job of planting out the hedge.


Marked a 3 metre pole with 200mm lines all along it and used this to measure 400mm spaces along the trench marking each with a cane. Then set another line of canes in a second row forming an equilateral trangle with the canes in the other row. That makes 5 plants to the metre. It needs to be done accurately; trying to plant them by eye wouldn't get them evenly spaced over such a long run.


The plan is to plant 25 hedglings at a time, tying each to a cane for temporary support while earthing them in and for the first few months after that. Before pulling the earth back scatter a few granules of mycorrhizal fungi on the roots of each to help the root system to mature quickly. Also scattered daffodil bulbs (see 13th November) between the plants in the outer row. Then, while Pat holds the cane and attached plant vertical, backfill with soil (the trench already has 5cm rotted compost in its base.


We only got as far as tying in the first 25 before it came dark. Maybe it may be necessary to break my routine of working on my software each morning and in the garden in the afternoon for the next few days; planting the hedge whenever the weather and light allows.


Tuesday 29th

13 to 8 to 3°C. Heavy dark clouds and stong blustery winds in the morning followed by heavy rain in the afternoon. Cleared to a cold starlit sky by early evening.


Not a day to be outside in the garden. A much better day is forecast for tomorrow.


Wednesday 30th

2 to 9 to 8°C. Cold, clear and sunny in the morning bu clouded over by lunchtime with light rain during the afternoon and evening.


Despite the weather continued to plant the hedge. Finished laying out the main part of the hedge, around 150 plants, scattering a large number of daffodil bulbs in front of it. Then sprinkled the 'Rootgrow' mycorrhizal fungi granules on the bare roots using half a scoopful (5ml) on each. This worked out at 32 plants per packet, more than the 25 I had estimated so we will have some left but I am sure I will find a use for it elsewhere.


We managed to cover about half of the laid out plants before the rain and the dusk drove us back indoors.


December 2011