The leaves are falling and the days or wind and rain are gaining in number. As well as wrapping yourself up warm – your garden needs plenty of TLC in November.
1.Plant spring-flowering bulbs for a spring display next year
There’s still time to plant daffodil bulbs and other spring flowering bulbs for a magnificent start to next year’s display.
Tulip bulbs are quite happy to be planted through to the end of the month, but other bulbs should be in the ground before it loses the heat of the summer months.
2. Rake up leaves from the lawn
Fallen leaves prevent light and air getting to plants and lawns and these dark, damp conditions are dream conditions for slugs, snails and a host of nasty fungal diseases.
Avoid any problems by raking up fallen leaves regularly and move them to a composter or leaf pile. You can compost leaf easily by filling a few bin bags (with plenty of air holes), spray them with water and let them break down in a quiet corner of your garden.
You should also gather up fallen leaves from around the base of rose bushes which suffered from blackspot or rust this summer, to reduce the chance of infection next year. Dump or burn these leaves rather than composting them to avoid spreading these diseases.
3. Get Planting Colourful Winter Planters
Brighten up your front door and windows with cheerful winter containers. Apart from the usual winter-friendly violas, pansies, primulas and polyanthus, consider using shrubs such as skimmia, euonymus or box and also evergreen perennials, grasses and sedges such as heuchera, Stipa tenuissima and carex for structure.
Watch CountryLife horticulturist Fergal show you how to create a Winter & Spring planter using a mix of bedding plants and bulbs.
4. Protect Tender Perennials
If you haven’t done so already, move tender perennials into the shelter of the greenhouse or garage and water less to bring on a state of semi dormancy.
In colder areas, tuberous-rooted cannas and dahlias should be dug up and stored in just-damp compost in a cool, airy place.
5. Watch out for Wind Rock
Stake top-heavy brassicas and draw up some soil around the base of the stem to prevent wind rocking the plant and causing damage to the roots.
Lightly prune bush roses now, if not done already, as reducing their height will prevent wind-rock. Roses are generally shallow rooted and can become loose in the soil if buffeted by strong winds.
6. Look after your lawn
If you haven’t already aerated your lawn, there’s still time to do it before winter sets in. You can use either a lawn aerator or simply insert a garden fork at regular intervals and lean it back slightly to let air in.
Remember to set your lawn mower to a higher cut-height for winter and continue to clear fallen leaves off the lawn to keep it healthy.
7. Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent water logging
Raise potted plants off the ground to prevent them becoming waterlogged and remove any saucers from under pots as the water in them could freeze in the first frosts and crack your pots.
8. Prune Fruit Bushes
Prune pear and apple trees anytime between now and February. But don’t be tempted to prune your plum trees now as they will be susceptible to the silver leaf fungus – wait until midsummer.
9. Help the Birds Prepare for Winter
Remember winter can be a tough time for birds and they require high energy (high fat) foods during the cold winter weather to maintain their fat reserves to survive the frosty nights.
At this time of year, put out food and water on a regular basis. In severe weather, feed twice daily if you can: in the morning and in the early afternoon. Black sunflower seeds are an excellent year-round food, and in many areas are even more popular than peanuts.
The oil content is higher in black than striped ones, and so they are much better. Nyjer seeds also have a high oil content and are particular favourites with goldfinches and siskins.
Peanuts are rich in fat and are popular with tits, greenfinches, house sparrows, nuthatches, great spotted woodpeckers and siskins. Crushed or grated nuts attract robins, dunnocks and even wrens. Feeding birds is also an ideal way to enthuse children about wildlife.
Now that many plants are returning indoors for the winter, regularly check for pests such as aphids, red spider mite, mealy bug and scale insects.
When moving them indoors remember not to put it too close to the radiators. Reduce the amount of water you give to houseplants and keep your cacti and succulents barely moist.
We’re here to help
If you have any questions about gardening jobs this winter, talk to any of our horticulturists in store. We’d love to help.