It’s now getting a lot colder and there’s less daylight hours. But don’t put your garden to bed for the winter just yet! You can still pot up some colourful winter containers, start planning next year’s garden and of course, don’t forget to feed your garden birds!
There’s still some colour to be found among leaves and berries. Winter-flowering shrubs such as Mahonia media hybrids, winter Honeysuckle and Viburnum Bodnantense will bring gorgeous fragrance to the short days.
Try and spend a little time tidying up your borders – you’ll be pleased you did when spring comes round.
Essential checklist for November
• Clear leaves with a spring tine rake and compost them
• Plant shrubs, evergreens and conifers
• Protect tender plants from frost with fleece or plant jackets
• Put out bird food
• Prune roses back, ensuring you cut stems at an angle just above the bud point
• Autumn lawn care – aerate and feed
• Plant spring flowering bulbs such as tulips
• Plant garlic and onions
Clear leaves and compost them:
• Leaf mould is worth its weight in gold, so it’s well worth collecting up leaves to make your own. Contain the leaves in a simple open frame made of chicken wire, or pack them into black bin bags. Sprinkle with Garotta, moisten the leaves and tie them up. Leave the bags for a couple of days before piercing all over with a garden fork. Then move out of the way to a shady place and leave for a year by which time the leaves should have rotted down to a rich dark pleasant-smelling mixture. This can be used as a mulch or dug in as a soil improver – especially useful for woodland plants.
Plant shrubs, evergreens and conifers:
• Continue to plant evergreens and conifers at the beginning of the month, while the soil is moist and still retains some warmth. Do remember to water well if the weather is dry – new plants still need moisture at their roots even in winter.
• November is a good time of year to plant new hedges. You’ll see bundles of bare-rooted hedging plants in garden centres now. Prepare your site well, digging in lots of organic matter such as homemade compost before you plant.
Protect tender plants from frost:
• Protect tender plants such as Phormiums, tree ferns and Cordylines in case frost should strike. It may be easiest to move large containers into a sheltered corner and cover them altogether with horticultural fleece rather than covering each plant individually.
Autumn lawn care:
There is still time to aerate and feed your lawn before the weather turns cold.
• Rake up leaves
• Adjust settings on your mower
• Aerate your lawn
• Treat moss and weeds
• Feed and condition
• Carry out repairs
Plant spring flowering bulbs:
You can still plant Tulips in November. Sow Sweet Peas at the beginning of the month in a greenhouse for an early display next year.
Feed the birds:
Shorter daylight hours mean that wild birds have less time to forage. Save them a wasted journey by making sure your feeders are topped up daily with a good quality all round bird food. Remember, once you start feeding the birds they will come to rely on you, so make sure you’re consistent!