As the season really begins to change we can look forward to the crisp mornings and blustery days of late autumn and begin to put the garden to bed. November is a real time of planning, with summer fresh in the memory and the seed catalogues arriving – make the most of the next few quite months to prepare the garden and get next year off to a bumper start.
- Sowing Sweet Peas now for next year and overwintering undercover will give you really strong plants for an early show – Rootrainers are the professional choice and perfect for strong root systems.
- Now is an ideal time to plant Tulip bulbs - remember to put some in pots as well as in the garden so that they can be moved to a prominent place for you to enjoy the flowers in the Spring. Protect from squirrels with netting.
- Lift and dry Dalia tubers ready for storing in a dry frost-free place over the winter.
- Prune your roses. Cut off most of the year's growth and take out large woody stems. Bare-root stock should be planted now – make sure you chose a rose to suit the location - repeat-flowers, good scent, disease resistance and vigour are all things to consider.
- Securely tie in loose shoots of climbers growing on arches and pergolas to give them form over the winter and to prevent them being damaged in high winds.
- Cut peonies back to promote healthy growth next spring.
- Cut back and tidy borders and make a note of any changes you want to make next spring - taking notes throughout the year of what works (and what doesn’t) is really useful as it’s is difficult to imagine the border in full bloom when your doing your winter planning.
- As a rule, perennials that flower in early summer (such as poppies, lupins and puloniarias) should be divided now. Anything that flowers later into July and August are best divided in the Spring.
- Simple hanging baskets planted structures brighten up the winter garden – an Obelisk Planter can create colourful height on your patio.
- Deadhead pansies/violas/primulas regularly to keep the flowers coming.
Protect tender perennials with a mulch of compost whilst the soil is still relatively warm but avoid burying herbaceous crowns.
- Continue to collect leaves to make mulch for next year – don’t add rose leaves though to help to reduce black spot next season – Jute Composting Sacks are ideal.
- Move any established shrubs or trees now while they are dormant. Take as much of the root ball as you can, firm in well and keep watered. Check after frosts that the roots are still firmly in the ground as this can sometimes lift them from soil.
- Paperwhites planted into a shallow bowl or pot will flower in 6-8 weeks if kept on a bright windowsill so start them off now for a display over Christmas and New Year.
- Start planning your vegetable plot for next year and in the meantime continue to plant garlic which will benefit from exposure to the cold before emerging in the Spring.
- Sow hardy peas such as ‘Feltham First’ under fleece for an early crop next year.
- Parsnips will sweeten after a few frosts so begin lifting them as the temperature falls.
- Sow pots of cut and come again salad and hardy herbs for putting right outside your kitchen door – protect with an attractive Bell Cloche when the winter sets in.
- Summer-fruiting raspberries and blackberries need cutting back, tying in – now would be a good time to invest in a raspberry support or fruit cage to make the most of the crop next year. Leave autumn-fruiting raspberries until later in the winter.
- Water pots outside if you have experienced a very dry spell and ensure containers are lifted off the ground to prevent waterlogging.
- Avoid walking on the lawn if it is waterlogged to avoid compacting the soil
- Check tree ties and stakes. Make sure the ties are not cutting into the trunks.
- Clean your tools and once clean store them in a dry place – a tool rack will keep everything in order.