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The Gardening Coach: What to do with your garden in November

PUBLISHED: 11:44 08 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:44 08 November 2016

Loropetalum chinense

Loropetalum chinense


Herts-based RHS award-winning garden designer and coach Judy Shardlow gives her horticultural advice for the month

hedgehog isolated on white backgroundhedgehog isolated on white background

I’m always on the look-out for more unusual plants, particularly if they’re evergreen and flower in winter. I’ve come across something a bit special – a witch hazel, but with deep purple foliage with pink flowers. Just like the yellow, orange and red-flowered members of the family, the petals of Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum ‘Fire Dance’ (above) offer a display of heart-stoppingly delicate filament petals, but in vivid pink.

They flower from February, providing some much needed ‘razzle dazzle’ in the drabbest months. Although this is a border plant which will ultimately grow to one metre, it also makes a great container plant, as pretty plum-coloured foliage looks stunning in a pale grey or cream-coloured pot.

Originally from woodlands in China, Japan and Burma, it needs a sheltered part-shade location with neutral to slightly acidic soil.

In the past, our winters would have been too harsh for this type of witch hazel to survive, but climate change has meant that this plant is now a viable and attractive option for Hertfordshire gardens.

Five things to do in the garden this month

1) Go bananas!

Lovely banana shallots like ‘Jermor’ are easy to grow from sets, taste great and are great for good health. Plant now while the soil is still warm.

2) Cut back dahlias

Cut dahlias down to base after frosts and lay material over the cut stem for protection through the winter.

3) Keep planting bulbs

Find a small pretty garden pot, plant Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’ bulbs in gritty compost and top-dress with grit for a stunning sky-blue February display.

4) Plant a rose

Now is the time to plant bare-root roses. Try delicate, white and beautifully fragrant rosa ‘Margaret Merril’.

5) Give hedgehogs a home

Hedgehogs need help, so don’t be too tidy at this time of year. Piles of leaves, grass, straw and plant debris left in parts of the garden will provide an area for the winter hibernation.

Judy Shardlow is an RHS award--winning garden designer and coach.

01438 833858


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