Making use of nature’s planting time

Transformation with golden shrubs. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Transformation with golden shrubs. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

The recent cold, wet weather may well have driven you under cover, despite the list of outside jobs pending.

But this is a wise decision because more harm than good can be done treading on borders and digging over beds when they’re saturated.

Just be patient. November can still dish up some suitable days for autumn planting, lawn maintenance, pruning, etc.

Meanwhile, I’m just delighted to find time for planning and browsing a constant flow of seed catalogues.

In the trade this current period is recognised as “nature’s planting time” because many of the specimens involved have lost their leaves, gone into dormancy, and can take the bare-rooted move from one spot to another in their stride.

It also helps that although the air temperature has fallen, the soil remains relatively warm and conducive to root development.

Newly introduced plants have a chance to gain a foothold in advance of winter, and plant outlets are currently stocked with all manner of perennials, including evergreen types grown in containers.

Every autumn there are plants in this garden earmarked in advance for transfer from one site to another. It can be part of a shake-up to refresh a border view, or a shrub may have outgrown its welcome in a particular spot.

Before any move I anticipate the potential weight that needs to be lifted and transferred, allowing for the root-ball of soil attached. Even large shrubs, seemingly impossible to move, can be dug loose, levered-out onto a plastic sheet and dragged to their new position.

Always prepare the new planting hole first, and ensure that any bare roots on the subject being moved are exposed to the air for the shortest possible time.