WINTER really seems to be upon us now, the shorter days start next week, with the clocks going back tonight, don’t forget to change yours before going to bed! Inevitably, this means not as much time to work in the garden or alternatively having to do much more in a shorter space of time. It’s probably the latter that applies to me, as I always seem to find something that wants doing.

If you want to get into the spirit of the season then why not create a festive planter for Halloween tomorrow, it’s not too late as it will last through November too. Get yourself a large pumpkin, cut a slice off the top, use a spoon to scoop out the contents, fill with multipurpose compost and plant up with some seasonal flowers, such as winter pansies, a great job for children to do too!

READ MORE: Geoff Stonebanks gardening column: new patio preparation

I’m very pleased to say that the landscapers have completely finished in the garden now, well until the spring, when they will return to extend the new sandstone paving right around the house at the back to create continuity. The next week or so will see me dressing the area with the plants and containers I already have stacked up across the rest of the garden.

I’ve certainly achieved the main aim I set for myself with the redesign, to drastically reduce the number of containers across the garden and make watering much easier next year. I’ve managed to put a lot of existing plants into the ground now and those that dress the patio in larger containers so frequency of watering can be reduced.

Now the workmen’s tools and equipment have gone, I’ve got access to my covered side alley again. It’s going to be a rush to get all the agaves gathered up from the front garden under cover for the winter and transfer other items usually stored under cover from the cold and wet!

A job I usually complete around now is to trim the ivy along the side entrance to the back garden. The fence is covered with ivy, a plant which I love. I’d rather see the ivy than a bare fence. However, it can be very vigorous, so needs cutting back a couple of times a year to make it more manageable and avoid fall outs with my neighbours, who are not so keen on it. This summer it seems to have grown more than ever, but I have decided to get someone in to do it for me this autumn, the guys who have done the recent landscaping will be back next month to get the job done for me

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