Which of course is what PP Arnold should have sung way back in 1967 instead of all that “deepest” stuff. What sort of gardener sings about deepest when really it is the Winter lawn song. Yep, it’s true as I perambulated around my lawn making the final cut for this year I belted out our Winter anthem “the last cut is the sweetest”.
6th November: Things I have been doing lately
✂️ Making the final cut of the lawn. If you have a lawn, and I hope you do, (because too many people in Spain turn their garden into a tiled car park) then now is the time for the final cut of the year. Speaking personally I leave the last lawn cut as long as possible in order for pollinating insects to get their final fix of nectar and for the birds to get their last feast of pollinating insects (the circle of life). When you make this final cut, it is important that you raise your lawn mower cutting blades as high as you can. The reason for this is that the grass will now stop growing, or grow only slightly. This means that any wear and tear of the lawn will not be replaced by new growth, and if your not careful you could end up with a threadbare lawn by next Spring. This is especially the case if you have marauding Labradors as we do.
The first photo below show me strimming the lawn edges prior to the final cut. Cruella (my wife) said that we should dress up a bit to try and revitalise our relationship. At least I made an effort; I asked if she was happy with my outfit, but she said she was expecting a “Fireman”. The second photo shows my lawn mower resplendent in the finished lawn but minus me and emulating the “Mary Celeste”.
🍁 Clearing up Fig leaves. Now I know it is normal to clear up leaves after they have all fallen. However, the exception is Fig leaves which tend to fall over an extended period of time. Because they are so large these leaves can blanket and suffocate new seedlings and dormant plants. This is especially the case if there is any rain and they become sodden. Ideally you should try and rake them up each week. The easiest thing to do is to leave a plastic bag near to the tree and just fill it up as you go. At the end of all this we are going to compost the leaves, but that is for another post. The photo below shows one of my Fig trees half way through shedding its leaves.
🌱 Planting out seedlings. If you have gathered and grown on self seeded seedlings, then now is the time to plant them out so that they can get established in the warm soil before the ground cools down. This will give them some growth and a good head start in the Spring. I gather lots of seeds which will be started off in the Spring but the self sown seedlings of Marguerites and Osteospermums, (I mention both because my eagle eyed friend Jackie told me off for just saying Marguerites last time) if grown on should be ready for planting now.
I have gathered and grown on over 100 of these; and remember these are all free plants. The two photos below show some of my beds being planted out ready for next year. When planting seedlings it is important to remember the size of the final adult plant. All too often people plant seedlings too close together and end up with overcrowded planting where each plant cannot express itself or reach its full potential (sounds like an election manifesto promise)!
☁️ Cloud pruning Ficus. In recent posts I have talked about the necesssity of reshaping some plants before the big Winter cutback. This ensures that they will keep a good pleasing shape throughout the Winter months. Where I find that plants/trees are turning into large shapeless lumps then I always consider cloud pruning them to give them all year interest. Ficus is a good candidate for cloud pruning. It is slow growing and the variegated variety looks stunning when cloud pruned.
The first photo below shows my large variegated Ficus before it’s annual reshaping.
The second photo shows the Ficus after I have unleashed my artistic talents on it. Cruella (my wife) often asks me what shape I have pruned it in to. I adopt a far away look in my eyes and say that “Art is an expression that transcends religion, culture, country, people and time.”. Her only response was to call me a prat.