November is considered to be late autumn, autumn ends when most plants stop growing because the daily temperature is too low (due to a combination of shorter days and a weaker sun) and they enter a period of dormancy.
The bright colours of summer flowers have long gone and the autumnal hues of foliage too. However, some plants come into their own, particularly those which produce berries and one of my all-time favourites Viburnum tinus var. which bears clusters of white flowers from apple blossom pink buds. Viburnum tinus also makes a very nice informal hedge.
The weather in November is not necessarily the best for gardening, so in order to get any tasks done take advantage of any ‘good’ gardening days to...
• Continue to clear up leaves and compost if applicable. Don’t allow them to stay on the lawn as this will lead to bare patches and clear them from nooks and crannies, slugs and snails will overwinter in them especially if they are dry!!
• Prune fruit trees - try to maintain a well-shaped tree, it should take the form of a wine glass (open in the centre). Firstly, prune out any dead, dying or diseased wood then remove any branches that are crossing each other and branches that are growing into the centre of the tree.
• If you decide to have a bonfire please check before you light it that no four legged creatures have decided to make a home in it.
• Aerate (spike) the lawn, give it a light cut and apply an autumn feed. Autumn feed differs from the spring/summer feeds, containing a different ratio of nutrients which enhance root development. Don’t apply any feed if frost is forecast.
• Protect tender plants using horticultural fleece.
• Plant spring flowering bulbs - plant bulbs at 2 to 3 times their own depth.
• November is a good month to plant a hedge; bundles of bare root hedging plants will become available in nurseries and garden centres. It is also a good time to transplant any shrubs or trees that maybe not ‘quite where you want them’ in the garden.
• Continue to dig over bare soil in the vegetable garden when weather permits. Don’t trample on the soil if it is wet enough to stick to your boots as you will end up compacting it, which will do more harm than good.
• Remove and overhaul pond pumps - store in a dry place over winter. Stop feeding fish and tidy up pond plants particularly lilies.
Finally, you may want to think about what you would like ‘Santa’ to bring you or use those evenings indoors to start planning for next season.
Thanks for reading.
Jane Dale of ‘Designed Gardens’. Tel: 07983 392 411.