We’ve been really lucky to have had such a mild autumn so far apart from the last couple of days when the frosts made their first appearance, so before colder weather really comes time to do a few jobs before the ground gets frozen! If you haven’t moved your tender plants inside yet now’s the time to do it and any you can’t move wrap with garden fleece. Summer pots and baskets have lingered on but replant them now with heathers, pansies and violas and for an even greater impact try underplanting with spring bulbs. Also, try planting hyacinths in a large pot by the front door for a welcoming splash of fragrance and colour next spring.
This is a month when there are plenty of other jobs to do:
- Your overcrowded perennials can be lifted and divided to maintain vigour and any you can’t use give to friends.
- Bring your prepared hyacinths into a well-lit area to ensure a Christmas display.
- Continue to lift dahlia tubers, begonia and gladiolus corms to store over the winter.
- Gather up fallen leaves from lawns, ponds and beds to make leafmould
- Net your brassicas to prevent damage from pigeons.
- Place cloches over herbs that like to remain dry at the roots like sage and thyme. Bring any tender herbs inside for winter such as basil, lemon verbena, lemongrass or Vietnamese coriander.
- Remember winter can be a tough time for birds in terms of water and food so make sure feeders are topped up and bird baths are clean.
- Continue to harvest leeks, celeriac, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and parsnips.
- Fix grease bands to the trunks of fruit trees to prevent wingless moth pests.
- Move container-grown specimen plants to a sheltered spot away from winds and possible frosts.
- Lift and divide large rhubarb crowns to increase stock.
- Give the lawn an autumn makeover for a good start in spring.
- Clean out water butts and install new ones.
Planting In the Veg, Fruit & Flower Gardens
- Plant garlic and onions.
- Plant broad beans.
- Plant winter salads, kale spinach.
Still time to plant daffodils, tulips and other spring bulbs in pots and borders plus wallflowers.
Plant out pansies, violas and primulas
Plant heathers, trailing ivy and grasses in pots for winter colour.
- In the fruit garden, it’s the ideal time to plant currant bushes and raspberry canes and to plant vines.
- November is the perfect month to plant trees, bare root hedging evergreen shrubs and conifers and to move any deciduous trees or shrubs while they are dormant.
Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs, trees and fleshy rooted herbaceous plants but keep them in a sheltered spot or in a cold frame to root.
- Apple and pear trees can be pruned anytime between now and February but leave plums, gages, peaches & cherries until summer.
- Prune hedges especially deciduous ones, like beech, that might need a good cut back.
- Prune shrub roses & buddleia to prevent wind-rock
- Drain pipework and water pumps to avoid freezing.
- Install a pond heater if you don’t have one.
- Keep the surface clear of overhanging branches and leaves to maintain light levels
- You need to check and repair damaged glass before bad weather sets in.
- Clean the greenhouse with horticultural disinfectant to get rid of overwintering pests and diseases.
- Buy a greenhouse heater or use bubble wrap to keep temperatures up over winter.
- Maybe install some solar lights for dark winter evenings
Lastly, as the long dull days approach you might want to consider installing some outdoor lighting in your garden as the LED lights nowadays are very easy to install and economical, turning a chilly winter landscape into a magical winter wonderland.