November comes and November goes,
With the last red berries and the first white snows.
With night coming early and dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket and frost by the gate.
The fires burn and the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest until next spring.
– Elizabeth Coatsworth

Stumbling around the internet trying to find some inspiration for this month’s blog, I came across this rather lovely poem. There is something infinitely relaxing and mindful about poetry which I am finding, having come late in life to it, really rather lovely. And to be able to share it with a wider audience gives it a whole new lease of life. This particular one by Elizabeth Coatsworth absolutely captures November quintessentially.

November can be a frustrating month weather-wise, neither winter or autumn, cold, wet, and a good few weeks until Christmas. It kept its original name from the Latin novem meaning ‘nine’ which marked it the ninth month of the year in the Roman calendar. November was named during a time when the calendar year began with March, which is why its name no longer corresponds with its placement in the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

With Lockdown 2.0 now in force, we should appreciate the sense of community all round us here in Colyton. I am sure that we will all support each other again, as we did the first time round. Even though the days are shorter and wetter and windier, there is always something to lift our hearts and minds. We have a little robin who has taken up residence in our plant area this year, and who has on several occasions flown into the Shop to check us out. He sings loudly and beautifully, I am sure he is giving thanks for all those crumbs left under the tables!

The flower for the month of November is the chrysanthemum. The word chrysanthemum comes from the Greek words chrys and anthemum, meaning golden flower. In the language of flowers, chrysanthemum is considered to symbolize honesty, joy, and optimism, surely much-needed during these uncertain times. They are fantastic plants to grow, with flowers from small sprays to absolute giants, and in a rainbow of colours.

November is also traditionally the month of remembrance, and all the more poignant for my family this year with the passing of my father who served in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary for his whole working life. Armistice Day is on 11 November and is also known as Remembrance Day. It marks the day World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. A two-minute silence is held at 11am to remember the people who have died in conflict.

This month’s quote: The most important things in life are not things!
Make the most of those sunny days and get on with a few jobs, there is always something to do…



  • You can sow broad bean Aquadulce now but protect with a cloche.
  • You can continue to plant garlic such as Solent Wight until the middle of the month.
  • Protect the crowns of globe artichoke  by wrapping straw around the base of the plants.
  • Divide clumps of chives and other herbs into small pots to grow on a windowsill indoors.


  • It’s your last chance to plant spring bulbs but make sure you plant to the correct depth. This information will be on the label. If the ground isn’t ready, plant the bulbs in pots which can be planted out later.


  • Make early sowings of geranium seed. You will need a minimum lowest temperature of 15C to ensure germination.
  • Sow cactus
  • Cut down the dead growth and lift dahlias and cannas once the top foliage has been frosted. Lay dahlias upside down to dry out, then store in a frost-free place.
  • Yellowing cyclamen leaves should be removed together with faded flowers by pulling directly from the corm. Keep them in a cool but light place.
  • Remember that plants that flower through the winter will need watering, but other subjects will need much less.


  • Cut back perennial plants that are past their best, and clear away all the debris (great places for snails and slugs to hide otherwise!) and added to the compost heap.
  • Plant wallflowers in the space left; they will give a lovely rainbow of colour, or you could try tulips planted amongst the wallflowers to give a good contrast.


  • If the weather is still mild you will find your grass is still growing so give it a light trim.
  • Try to remove any fallen leaves that have blown onto the lawn. Consider putting the leaves into bin bags or empty compost bags (make a few holes in the bag first), and hide them away somewhere in the garden until next year, when you will have a handy supply of leaf mould!
  • Spike the lawn with a hollow-tined aerator and then brush grit into the holes for improved drainage.
  • Try to keep off the lawn if conditions are very wet or frosty as this will compact the soil.


  • It always proves worthwhile to try and use some time this month to wash down the outside of your greenhouse. This removes any algae and dirt that built up over the summer that will prevent the light getting in. You could use your car wash brush on the end of a hose!
  • Check on over-wintering plants to make sure they are keeping healthy and pest-free. Remove any dead or dying growth.
  • It’s a great time to clean and disinfect pots and trays ready for next season.
  • Start planning your garden for next year (this always makes me feel better on those dark days) and order plants and seeds early to avoid disappointment.
  • When temperatures fall birds will appreciate regular feeding so why not take a look at our garden bird food and care section and see the great range of bird food and feeders on offer. Why not inspire a friend or relative to love their garden birds by buying them a Christmas present made up of feeders, nest box, and a variety of foods?


During Lockdown 2.0 we have shortened our opening hours to Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10.00am until 3.00pm. A warm welcome awaits.

Any alterations to opening hours will be posted on our website and through social media (check out our Facebook or Instagram pages too).

King Street, Colyton, Devon EX24 6PD                            Email:

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