Garden Notes

As the nights draw in, we may decide there’s nothing to do or celebrate in our outdoor spaces. Katherine Watson suggests we think again…

Winter may well be on its way but there are some seasonal traditions that (if you can think outside of the bird box) will bring a bit of horticultural joy to the back end of the gardening year.

Create some fireworks!

November’s a great time to plant spring flowering tulips and there are some absolutely beautiful flame-coloured,lily-flowered varieties to choose from. Try Tulipa ‘Firework’ in bold red and yellow, or look for the elegant orange of ‘Ballerina’. Create a cracking display that won’t scare your pets.

(Don’t) Have a bonfire

Manchester City council advises against garden bonfires – and organised displays are always better anyway – but a rusty outdoor wood burner could be the answer for snuggly star-filled nights cosying up under blankets. You’ll find upmarket burners at, or try eBay for a bargain chiminea.

Salute Samhain

This Celtic pagan festival marks the end of harvest and the start of the ‘dark time’, when we remember those who have passed away. Harry the hamster and Tiddles the tomcat can now have their garden graves honoured with engraved headstones and plinths from If you prefer something slightly more understated, try an engraved pebble from Not on the High Street.

Celebrate Diwali and Hanukkah

It’s not just Christmas that’s celebrated with sparkles and twinkles. Light up the hours of darkness by filling your garden with strings of festive outdoor lights and torches. All are widely available and sure to bring a warm glow.

Wrap up!

Protect your pots and wrap your taps to guard against sudden winter chills. Your more tender plants will definitely welcome jute plant insulation from Clas Ohlson – which looks a little smarter than bubble-wrap; while Lakeland (who else?), have posh outdoor tap-wraps to protect against burst pipes.

Feed the birds

Make sure your three French hens, two turtle doves and that partridge in the pear tree get a big present of foods high in fat and oil. All our birds need lots of energy to keep going during the winter, and watching bird feeders is a wonderful way to while away a winter’s afternoon.

And finally…

Be sociable in your garden! Invite Holly and Ivy over to sample a few roast chestnuts on the patio…they need to get out more.

Cheers to a Happy Horticultural Winter

Katherine Watson, Fat Grass Garden Design