Nippy November

 I'm usually asked to design gardens to be of interest all year round, but let's face it, apart from bonfire night, nippy November is not a month we associate with sitting out in the garden.

A few years ago gas fired patio heaters were all the encouragement we needed to get us out there until we decided that they were a very environmentally unfriendly way to heat up the atmosphere as well as ourselves. Now log burning fire pits provide a fashionable way to warm up and a welcoming hearth to huddle around, but I recently came across a brilliant idea to get people outside, by the terrace doors of a hotel was a basket of woollen blankets.

They've always been the choice of the royal family to keep the breeze from their knees and it was great to see young and fashionable hotel guests draping themselves in locally woven and sustainable wool for a warm and cosy alfresco tipple.

As the sun circles lower in the sky we feel very little heat from it, but late autumn days can often be bright and the garden still has plenty to enjoy. Traditional activities like raking leaves from the lawn, hedge trimming and digging over the vegetable patch are all aerobic exercises and guaranteed to create a rosy glow as well as burn off a few calories and get the heart and lungs working, but warm clothes are a must this time of year too. Last year I discovered thermal gardening gloves and thick furry welly socks to keep me comfortable and shiver free.

I will really miss my summer evening meetings with the hedgehogs as they toddle off to find a sheltered place to hibernate, but now is the time for the little eight legged garden residents to produce one of my favourite sights. During the night spiders spin their delicate webs and as the morning mist clears, the strands festoon the foliage and hanging dewdrops gleam, on a sunny morning the effect is magical.

Soon migrating birds will be here, red wings stopping by to feed on the rowan, cotoneaster and hawthorn berries and I've already seen goldfinches inspecting the teasel heads to see if they're ripe.

As the autumn leaves glow and their fiery colours begin to burn I shall wrap up warm and be out there as much as I can, my garden is here all year round with something of interest to enjoy in every month, even November.