This Month in the Garden (November 2020) with Derek Cox

The leaves of most of my deciduous trees and shrubs put on a glorious display of autumn foliage during September and October and then deposit their leaves in a colourful carpet on the ground beneath. It is a pity I have to get my leaf vac out to clear this colourful display, but the leaves then cover many of my Cyclamen hederifolium, pictured left, that produce a lovely display of lavender, pink or even white flowers from October until late November. It is not only the flowers which give this Cyclamen its attraction, but also, in the main, its leaves that have either silver Xmas tree like patterns in their centre or even completely silver leaves. As soon as Cyclamen hederifolium flowers start to fade Cyclamen coum, pictured right, starts to produce its smaller flowers of lavender, pink, or even red and these will flower right through until Christmas day. Whereas hederifolium will grow in up to 75% shade, coum prefers an open, well drained soil in sun.

Now back to my favourite small to medium sized tree, which is Acer x conspicum ‘Phoenix’ whose light green leaves turn a lovely butter yellow during late August and September, but its main attraction is its almost pink-white striped trunk and its current years new branches that turn bright red during the winter months. Ask your local nursery if they can supply this as it is ideal for the smaller garden.

I only grow one evergreen tree and this is the Chinese privet Ligustrum lucidum ‘Tricolor’ which, in 16 years, has formed a 15 feet (4.6m) tall half standard with a 10 feet ( 3m) diameter round head. The narrow green leaves are variegated a cream, white and in the spring with pink. As with most evergreen trees and shrubs the older leaves are shed during early summer. Trachycarpus fortunei grows in a large ornamental pot at the rear of my Japanese garden. This is an evergreen palm tree, which in five years due to repotting is now three feet (90cm) tall. This will eventually form a tree like the one that can be seen in the show ground of Goscote Nurseries Syston Road Cossington as a tree some 15 foot (4.6m) tall that produces pendulous panicles of yellow flowers during early summer.

During November a number of Viburnum’s will start to flower including Viburnum farrerii a deciduous shrub with white fragrant flowers, also V. X ‘Bodnantense’ whose fragrant pink flowers are fairly frost resistant. Growing in the border at the rear of my garden is a 9 feet (2.7m) tall shrub of the evergreen Viburnum tinus whose white flowers open during November and are often still in flower by the following March. I also grow the variety ‘Laurarosa’ that has pink flowers. One thing I must point out with Viburnum tinus is the fact that during early spring Viburnum beetle will start to eat the leaves and then, unless kept under control with Provado ultimate bug killer, the leaves will finish up like lace curtains.

November is not only the time to move bare rooted trees and shrub, but also the time to start pruning apple and pear trees. At Syston station there are two bush eating apples and I shall prune the current year’s growth back by two thirds of its length looking for the spurs which will form next years fruit. These are still young bushes, but with older trees it is a well to first prune out dead or diseased branches and then try to open up the centre of the trees to encourage even ripening.

There are also a number of Buddleia davidii which need pruning back halfway to prevent wind rock causing the plants to be broken, or even pulled out of the ground.