Oh to be a gardening website manager, trying to motivate people to get into the garden this month of November!
(Has to be easier than in December!)
L Callicarpa bodinerei - Unusual coloured berries:
I can easily motivate myself to write about the garden, for some of my best autumn colour photos have been taken in this month. I will include a few below to prove the point. Realistically though, this month more or less heralds the end of the gardening season for many. You will have already noted that most garden centres are now firmly focussed on Christmas! We will stay with the garden in November.
If October is the month of the storms, then November which follows, is the month to clear up the debris, sweep the leaves and be tempted into pruning all sorts of shrubs into more manageable sizes. DON'T! For there are very few shrubs which should be pruned in this month. Our pruning calendar will help you with choices.
One of the first things that spring to mind for November garden jobs, is that of a good clear up, and maybe a bonfire - if you are allowed. But wait! By doing this, you are more or less admitting that the garden and gardening is finished for the year. So, leave the clearing until after you have read our 'to-do' list and stay in 'gardening' mode! Clearing up is the final job!
November is a good time to wander around the garden - look carefully at your window boxes and patio tubs if that constitutes your garden. This last year's failures or disappointments will soon come to the fore, so you can determine now, to do something about them so that you are not faced with the same next year.
Maybe some plants didn't do so well, or maybe some in the perennial and shrub bed grew a bit too much. (They will grow even more next year, so transplanting might be on the agenda - but not evergreens now). Conversely, you might still remember where you had gaps this last year. If shrubs or perennials, this might be a good time to think about filling those gaps.
If you rely heavily on any containers for colour in the summer, then it is not too late still to get some colour in for the winter. Gardening might stop, but that doesn't mean that the garden should stop!
There is little point in buying small plants as fillers if you want them for colour in the coming months, for they will not grow any bigger, unlike the spring when they more or less double their size in a week. At this time of year - what you see it what you will have for the next few months. The only exception being the winter flowering pansies, which so tend to put on a little bit of growth - as well as the welcome flowers. Winter flowering heathers, ivies and winter cherries, will need to be bought as mature plants for effect through the winter.
The same goes for planting evergreens in containers containers for winter colour. Buy them at the size you need for the winter, and replant them in the garden in spring.
Many plants are lost each year because of frosting of the root system
in hard frost areas when they are grown in smallish containers.
Sometimes the damage is not noticed until the following spring when the
plant needs to grow - and it has a damaged root system. Protection can
be a simple matter of placing your containers close (touching) each
other, and maybe infilling the gaps ad crevices with any form of
Alternatively the individual containers can be wrapped in bubble wrap.
If the weather is dry and the grass looks a little long, cut it! Otherwise you will start next spring with long grass, and after a few weeks of wet weather when you cannot cut your grass in the spring - a hayfield. Do NOT be afraid to cut your grass in November. It might even still be growing.
My mailbox will be full of questions related to "Is it too late to plant my bulbs now?" NO! just do it. The worst that will happen is that they will be a little later flowering, and maybe not quite as big. The alternative is to throw them away!!! (Don't! just plant them.
In fact, November is probably the best time to plant Tulip bulbs. This is because earlier planted bulbs will get off to a quick start in the spring, and will possibly get hit with a late frost - damaging the flower heads.
Hopefully all crops will have been harvested and either eaten, blanched or put into suitable store for the winter. You may still have some winter cabbage or other members of that family (brassica) to which, wood pigeons are partial at this time of year. Netting will be required.
If your own garden looks a little uninspired at this time, pop out to
one of the big gardens that will still be open for visitors. Or even the
garden centre to get yourself some inspiration.
A good time to start thinking about your own garden for next year. Maybe even think about a new landscape design - you can do it!
Fruit trees that looked a bit off colour this last year can be helped by feeding now..... but after all foliage has dropped. This will allow the tree to take in nutrients ready for a good start next spring. I have seen it done, I have done it myself. It works! Do NOT feed evergreens at this time of year - and that includes the lawn. (Lawn grasses are evergreen!)
They always used to be planted at this time of year, until the nurseries realised that they could sell more by pandering to the good-weather gardeners (aren't we all?) and grew them in containers so that they could be sold at more favourable times of the year!
The only shrubs not to plant now, are evergreens, and a few of the less hardy ones - Oh, and Clematis, which prefer a spring planting!
That little lot should keep you going until December - see you then!
Ooooops! nearly forgot. After you have completed all the tasks above, THEN you can have that clear-up!