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Saturday 4 November 2023

November Gardener's Calendar

  • Its a very good time to plant hedges, trees, shrub and fruit. To give your garden the very best head start continue the tradition of autumn planting and plant as much as possible now. Planting in autumn conditions is recommended because the ground is favourable and if we establish plants now we can enjoy them next year. Plants benefit from having time to create a solid root system through autumn, winter and early spring, when they are not under pressure to flower and produce leaves. Work now while the soil is still warm and moist and not yet frozen. And don't forget to get your spring bulbs in.
  • If we miss this perfect October/November period the early spring is another peak planting season and probably a more suitable time to plant our silvery sun loving Mediterranean plants.
  • Plant bare root hedging. Many plants, particularly those used for hedging, are best purchased economically with bare roots just lifted from the ground. Now is the definable time to establish a new hedge and this applies to some trees as well.  
  • This is the key time for planting spring bulbs if you haven't already. November is the perfect month to plant tulips.  
  • The frost are coming so if you have anything that need bringing in or covering with fleece do it now.
  • Wall flowers can be bought now and planted directly into the soil and will give you lots of colour in the spring. 
  • Plants which are gown in pots, rather than those lifted straight from the ground, do have a reasonable pre-established root system which is how we manage to cheat nature and plant throughout the year regardless. These would still establish well in autumn.
  • The obvious gardening task is to tidy up and cut back all those faded tatty flower heads but only with only a light hair cut.  Leave over the winter as many seed heads can look pretty  and provide winter stucture covered in frost and may provide some protection for wildlife such as hedgehogs. You do not want to encourage perennials to rejuvenate and make fresh growth if its mild this autumn as this growth will be susceptible to cold in forthcoming cold winter weather. It is better to allow the  frost to naturally shut down perennials so they become dormant. We don't want fresh vulnerable growth now. 
  • Perennials that like very well drained soil do not want frozen ground around the crown of the plant. This will lead to plants being lost in cold wet icy weather. Try putting some alpine grit around the crown. 
  • Later flowering perennials like penstemons, Verbena bodnariensis and Mediterranean plants like lavender (woody sub shrubs) probably do look messy and need a light hair cut but don't cut the old shoots back until the spring when new shoots come through. Definitely do not cut into the old wood.
  • Cut off any bad marked scruff leaves from your hellebores growing in borders now.
  • Start to think about mulching up borders for the winter to keep roots warmer.
  • Move or transplant carefully anything in the wrong position. I would apply this rule to most shrubs, trees and perennial apart from those of Mediterranean. I feel they prefer to be moved as the weather warms in the spring. These plant are often have silvery or hairy leaves giving you a clue they don't need to be too wet and enjoy hot positions and like a longer warm period to establish.
  • Get some manure on the garden. Plants like roses and rhubarb will really benefit from a dollop of well rotted manure.
  • Deal with your lawn problems. Seed the bare patches. Scarify (rake out the bad stuff) and aerate (spike in some holes), sprinkle on some sand if the ground is heavy. A feed will not hurt but be very very careful how you apply it or you will burn the grass and it will start show ugly blue patches from over feeding.
  • Now is the time to cheer yourself up with a bit of colour by the house. When you tip out the faded bedding fill up your pots with some winter colour using pansies,violas and small evergreens.