November is a great month for housekeeping in your garden. Although the days can be windy, damp, and sometimes cold we are often blessed with bright, sunny, autumnal sunshine which we should take full advantage of. Wrap up warm and get productive in the garden. There’s a whole host of winter gardening jobs to help prepare for the Winter ahead.
Plant Spring Bulbs
Though Spring bulbs can be planted in September or October it’s not too late to get them planted in November if you haven’t done so already. Tulips, Narcissus, Hyacinths, Crocus, Iris, Alliums, Snowdrops, Bluebells. Planting a few extra each year helps build year on year a cheerful display of spring colour in your beds and borders. Spring bulbs also work well in pots. Choose a mixture of different types of spring flowers for a vibrant and varied display. Use plant labels and markers whilst planting to help you remember what you’ve planted and where until you become more familiar with what springs up each Spring. You’ll soon identify a new area or blank spot for planting a new selection the following Autumn.
Shop for wintering flowering plants
Winter needn’t be completely colour-free in the garden. Winter Flowering plants such as winter pansies, primroses, and polyanthus are all winter blooms that will add colour through the Winter and in advance of the emergence of your beautiful spring bulbs. It’s always wise to try and avoid walking on wet or frosty grass during the winter so as not to damage it so look to plant your winter flowering plants in a position where you can enjoy them from your window. Look for a position just outside your window, outside your door, in a window box, along a pathway, or in a pot positioned on your patio or driveway.
Bare root roses, shrubs, and trees
Bare roots are far cheaper to buy than potted roses, shrubs, and trees. November through to March is a dormant period for roses, trees, and shrubs, and now is the time to invest in these and get them planted. Add a layer of mulch around the base of the plant for protection.
Cut back your perennial plants
It’s time to have a tidy-up! Your perennial plants will be looking a little sorry for themselves by now. Cut the stems to just above the ground and surround the base with mulch to protect the roots.
Lift, divide and re-plant!
Autumn is the time to have a move around in the garden. If something in your garden has become too large you have the opportunity in November to divide it and replant a portion elsewhere or gift it to a friend.
Save the dahlia!
Carefully lift and store your dahlias. November is the time to carefully lift, dry out and store your dahlia tubers. If they are left in the ground over winter they are at risk of becoming too wet and rotting. Store them for replanting in May.
Stake plants to protect them from the wind
Some plants will need extra support to stand up to the heavy winds we experience during a UK winter. Identify any plants that may be vulnerable and benefit from the protection and support a stake can offer. It may be that an existing plant, tree, or shrub has become considerably taller or larger this year and it’s time to introduce plant support or stake. Or, maybe it’s a new addition to your garden that’s coped well in fair weather but needs support for the coming winter months. As well as garden stakes, don’t forget there are other garden supports available such as plant ties, garden twine, supports, and trellises. You might also consider wrapping non-hardy plants using frost protection fleece.
Pruning Shrubs and trees
Pruning shrubs and trees are often completed in autumn as it’s far easier to assess the overall structure and see where you can make the necessary cuts although different plants require pruning at different times of the year so it’s always worth checking first. Pruning during winter reduces the chances of disease and often means there’s less garden waste to dispose of.
Reposition pots and planters
If you have vulnerable or semi-hardy plants in pots or containers and it’s possible to shelter them now is the time to make the move before we experience any serious frosts! If you have a greenhouse or sheltered area move your plants to safety.
Have you made your final cut of the lawn? We hope so! However, if there’s no frost and it’s not too wet you might still be able to squeeze one in.
Rake and scarify
Rake up any leaves from your lawn and scarify. Wherever possible keep off the lawn in wet or frosty weather to avoid damage.
Take hardwood cuttings
It’s time to take hardwood cuttings of any deciduous shrubs or roses.
Pond maintenance for the winter months
The autumn leaves will have almost all fallen by now so hopefully, you will get a break from raking them up. Don’t forget to remove any leaves that may have fallen into your pond. Also remove any surplus dead leaves from pond plants.
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch
There are many types of mulch including, bark, shredded leaves, straw, pine needles, even newspaper. Mulch offers hardy perennials protection from frost heaving, helps improve the structure of your soil and suppresses weeds. Spread or lay your mulch over the surface of your soil and around your perennials.
Prepare vegetable beds
If you haven’t done so already, clear out any spent vegetable plants. If you have any vegetable beds that are unoccupied during the winter months you can act now to improve the soil structure for all types of soil. Organic matter helps make sandy soil more able to retain water, and can help improve drainage in clay soil. Adding organic matter to your vegetable beds will help prepare and improve the soil ready for next year’s planting. Organic matter includes compost, animal manure, leaf mold. Essentially it’s decaying plant or animal material.
Vegetable plant protection
It’s time to cover up! If you have any salad plants it’s time to protect them with fleece or under cloches. Also cover brassicas with netting to prevent the pigeons from feasting on them!
Prune back your fruit plants and trees
Tidy your strawberry beds by removing old foliage, weeds, and runners. Prune back Blackcurrant, red currant, and gooseberry bushes. Cut down Autumn fruiting raspberries to just above the soil.
Tidy, clean and maintain
Tidy up the greenhouse! Dispose of old plants and clean out pots ready for use. Sweep the floor and clean the glass with warm soapy water. Tidy and organise ready for next year!
Take care of wildlife
Fill up your bird feeders and supply fresh water in a place you can regularly attend to it.
Whilst carrying out autumn and winter gardening tasks take care not to disturb hibernating animals.
Don’t forget the insects – buy or make an insect hotel or simply leave an area of your garden wild and undisturbed for insects to chill out in! You can make a simple insect hotel by drilling holes into an old log or there are many guides to making a bug hotel online. Insects can have many benefits for your garden as they are a natural form of pest control, they help attract birds and pollinate flowers
Take the tool maintenance indoors
Winter months are a great time to clean, maintain, review and replenish your garden tools and the good news is that this is something you can do indoors!