Enjoy the autumn hues of the velvety sumach and feast on celeriac in mid-November, plus the most important chores to do this week.

Ham & High: Celeriac being pulled from the ground. PA Photo/thinkstockphotosCeleriac being pulled from the ground. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos (Image: Archant)

Rhus (sumach)

The glorious autumn we’ve had has been enhanced by the spectacular foliage display of fiery reds and oranges produced by the rhus, or stag’s horn sumach, whose female plants produce strange-looking, velvety, crimson fruits. Sumachs are grown for their brilliant autumn hues and large palm-like leaves which turn orange, red and purple. The shrub will grow anywhere but it should be pruned regularly or it will become leggy and bare. The most common type is R. Typhina, whose branches will grow to 12ft or more if left unpruned. If you want a smaller type, go for R. glabra.

Harvesting celeriac

It’s a hugely flavoursome root veg which can be combined with potato and garlic for a delicious mash or grated into salads to add a fresh flavour. When the stem base has swelled to around 10cm in diameter it should be ready for harvesting. The leaves should be cut off the root and can be added to stocks and soups. Once you’ve dug it up, trim off the fibrous roots and clean off excess soil, then dry it in a cool, frost-free place before storiing it in dry sand. You can leave celeriac in the ground over winter, but beware that the slugs might get to it first. You can also freeze it by cubing and blanching it.

What to do this week

:: Insulate containers to reduce the risk of roots freezing.

:: Tackle overgrown deciduous hedging, pruning it back hard to encourage new growth for next season. Don’t trim evergreen hedges now.

:: Apply a bulky organic mulch around the base of trees, shrubs and climbers.

:: Plant bare-root and container-grown roses.

:: Plant tulips, lilies and hyacinths in beds, borders and containers.

:: Cut back the top growth on ornamental grasses that don’t look attractive at this time of year.

:: Thin out canes on established bamboos.

:: Clear fallen leaves from the lawn, beds and borders.

:: Brush toadstools off the lawn using a broom.

:: Protect less hardy bulbs such as nerines and agapanthus by mulching the area where they are planted.

:: Send off for catalogues from specialist fruit tree nurseries.

:: Cut back faded foliage from pond and marginal plants before it falls in the water.

:: Prune redcurrants, blackcurrants and gooseberries if you haven’t already done so.