With the onset of cooler and shorter days, the work routine from September has changed. Then, the first job of the morning was to get the watering done. Now, this task has become more of a quick check round. Plants undercover are using much less water, so we can reduce the number of days on which we go round with a hosepipe. However, we shall be mindful throughout the winter, that all evergreens continue to use water and need checking regularly. Keep an eye on your precious plants that have been put under the cover of a greenhouse in the winter.

With less time being spent on growing, there should be more time to get on with all of those jobs that were put aside in the busy summer months: i have a 1000 m2 of glass to clean, part of it with Fairy liquid and a broom;  formulae for spreadsheets have to be written so that we can do a stock take quickly on a tablet, an exercise that certainly keeps the mind active; and above all, Marion is beavering away at the cropping program for next year’s tender perennials. Orders for plug plants have to go out soon to ensure we can grow a full range in spring. Having purchased a seeding machine in the summer, we have to make a germination room and weaning facilities. This will reduce the amount of pricking out that we do in the spring, but there are technical difficulties to be overcome and we shall have to test our systems thoroughly before relying on them  for our spring production

As a keen birdwatcher, autumnal leaf drop delivers more than just the sight of some splendid autumn colour. There is less cover to conceal the summer migrants that are late to depart to their wintering grounds, or to the smattering of rare birds which have arrived on the steady flow of easterlies. Ever wonderful, by the wooden greenhouse is a large Acer October Glory, now a wonderful tower of fiery colour. The still weather is allowing the leaves to hang on. I walked along the west border to pick up a leaf of Catalpa x erubescens ‘Purpurea’, now faded to shades of green and  yellow. The tree, usually quite unremarkable for its autumn colour, looked fantastic as I stood underneath it and look up through the canopy towards a low afternoon sun. Some of the leaves are almost the size of a up a dinner plate.