November brings with it shorter days but do take the opportunity to get new planting done of trees, shrubs, hedging and fruit trees.
Planting at this time of year has many positive advantages. There is less watering with shorter days and less sunshine hours and less weed competition. The soil is warmer from the accumulated heat in the soil built up from the summer.
Drainage: Do check areas of the garden, which have a waterlogging problem. Put drainage in place where there is a persistent problem of continuing poor drainage. Long term waterlogging can result in fatalities and secondary disease infection from the constant waterlogging.
Jobs for November: Bring tender plants indoors if not already brought under protection. Rid plants of pest and diseases before bringing them indoors under cover for the winter.
Rake up fallen leaves at regular intervals. Compost the leaves and they will make valuable compost for next year.
Check that all containers have adequate outlets for the winter. It is a good idea to raise the containers with pot feet to prevent waterlogging. You can usually source pot feet in either terracotta or ceramic to match your pots.
Tulips are best planted in the cooler months of November and December. Plant a selection of varieties to give a variety of colours, heights and flowering times. Plant at two to three times the depth of the bulbs adding a slow release organic fertiliser prior to planting. Tulips may be combined with spring bedding plants such as Pansies, Violas, Polyanthus Wallflowers or Bellis (Bachelors Buttons). Daffodils and Narcissi can continue to be planted right through until just before Christmas. Use the dwarf, more compact, varieties for containers.
By choosing a carefully chosen selection of varieties you can have a succession of continuous colour from early in the New Year to early into May. Dwarf bulbs can be associated with alpines, dwarf conifers and of course winter/spring flowering Heathers.
Roses – tall varieties can be shortened back now to prevent wind rock.
Cover brassicas (cabbage family) against pigeons.
Fruit Trees: Order new fruit trees and bushes. As well as being a good time of the year to plant fruit trees, there is a much greater chance of securing specific varieties or types of fruit trees this time of the year than later on into the winter or spring. Winter pruning of apples and pears can commence this month.
While you are pruning do keep a sharp look out for any signs of canker infection.
If there is any signs of canker infection – clean off the infected area with a wire brush and paint on a canker wound paint such as Medo. Severe infections, which have gone halfway or more through the stem should be cut off cleanly ensuring no snags remain. Infected prunings should be removed and disposed of off site. Tie in new tiers of espalier fruit. Prune red and white currants and gooseberries. Protect and prevent rodent damage of stored fruit. Remove any rotten fruit in storage.
Vegetable Garden: Sow over wintering broad beans outside or under cloches or cold frames. Plant garlic cloves outdoors or in a cold frame. Remove yellowing leaves on Brussels sprouts and other brassicas. This will prevent the development of fungal diseases such as grey mould and brassica downy mildew. Remove all remaining plant debris from the vegetable plot.
This is ideal for composting. However don’t compost any disease-infected material.
Fuchsias are probably still in flower. Most Fuchsias will survive successfully through the winter. If the plants have become infected with rust or downy mildew – gather up all infected leaves and dispose of carefully off site. Fuchsias can be pruned back hard in February/March. Tender varieties should be brought indoors to a protected frost-free area.
Winter Colour:Do have a good look around your garden and see where you can add winter colour and fragrance. Winter heathers provide valuable winter colour. They are immune to the worst ravages of the winter weather. Plant heathers in bold groups informally in groups of three, five, seven or nine colour of the one variety. Heathers that have finished flowering should be deadheaded immediately after flowering. Cut off the faded blooms to the next set of leaves below where flowers have faded. Deadheading will result in a tidier, healthier plant that will retain its shape and vigour.
Many of the choice winter flowering shrubs as well as providing colour and flowers in the depths of the winter also have deliciously fragrant blooms, which are a great asset in the depths of winter.
Choose: Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’; Hamamellis mollis – witch hazel; Mahonia; Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’.