November - November is the perfect time to plant deciduous shrubs and trees, and decorative winter plants such as pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale.
- Empty delicate, glazed or ceramic pots, wash and move into a shed for the winter
- Lift and divide congested clumps of perennials
- Move shrubs that have outgrown their position or are in the wrong place
- Prepare areas to plant new roses
- Start taking hardwood cuttings from suitable roses, shrubs and trees
- Remove suckers from the base of trees
- Collect seeds and berries from shrubs and flowering plants
- Plant out winter bedding such as pansies
Tip: Vote for veg!
It seems an odd idea to plant cabbages in your border, but ornamental cabbage and kale look their very best now. They are perfect for replacing dying bedding plants in tubs and will continue to add colour to displays well into the New Year. Why not plant in clumps alongside winter pansies or dwarf evergreens such as skimmia, osmanthus, euonymous and trailing ivy?
In the greenhouse
- Wash off summer shading paint form your greenhouse and clean it inside and out
- Clean all your pots and seed trays in preparation for spring
- Clear old pots and grow bags, adding any surplus material to the compost heap
- Sow pots of hardy winter lettuce
- Bring dormant cyclamen pot plants back into growth by watering, taking care not to over water
- Bring tender plants under cover now, including standard fuchsias
- Insulate the greenhouse from frost, products such as bubble wrap works well
Tip: Spectacular spring sensation
For a great spring display why not plant a selection of ornamental allium and nectaroscordum in pots now and grow under cover. Plant in peat-free compost in single pots or in groups in slightly larger containers. Ensure that the Tips are just covered. Bulbs planted in pots should be planted more shallowly than in the ground, leaving plenty of compost underneath for their roots to grow into. Ensure that you stake the plants as they grow if necessary as they won’t have much support from the compost. When planting out in the spring, plant them deeply so the soil supports the stem.
Fruit and vegetables
- Sow broad beans in early November for harvest in May or June
- Sow hardy peas or mange tout under cloches
- Cover herbs and salad plants with cloches to provide protection during winter months
- Prune out fruited blackberry canes and tie-in new shoots to replace them
- Spread a thick mulch of compost around fruit bushes and trees and along rows of cane fruits to improve the soil and help keep them cropping
- Harvest carrots to prevent pest attack. Cut back foliage to within an inch of the carrot, then store in boxes between layers of dry compost or sand
Tip: Parsley at the plenty
For fresh parsley throughout the winter, cover clumps with cloches now. These keep off frost and provide warmer conditions that keep the parsley producing new leaves. Alternatively, dig up clumps and pot on. These can then be kept in the porch or on a bright windowsill.
Around the garden
- Put away hosepipes over the winter
- Wrap insulation around outside taps to stop them freezing
- Dig over vacant soil and spread a thick layer of compost on the surface
- Remove pumps and filters from ponds and bubble fountains
- Spike compacted lawns and brush grit or sand into the holes
- Buy roses, trees and shrubs, prepare the soil for planting
- Install a water butt in preparation for watering the garden next year
- Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent water logging
- Put out bird food to encourage winter birds into the garden
- Use a seasonal bonfire to dispose of excess debris unfit for composting. Check with your local council to see if this is allowed
Tip:Collect up fallen leaves
Soggy leaves make paths and patios slippery; they can smother alpines, border plants and lawns. They also provide hiding places for slugs, so be sure to sweep or rake up leaves regularly. Leaves produce wonderful composted leaf-mould when stacked or bagged up and left to rot down. This can take a year or longer but your patience will be amply rewarded.