Bring fuchsias, argyranthemums and pelargoniums into the greenhouse or conservatory before the frosts. If there’s more digging to do, now is the time to finish it off, working in manure or rotted garden compost. Leaving the soil roughly turned, without breaking it up too much, exposes it to the beneficial action of wind and frost.
You can also apply a slow acting fertiliser. If you have prepared for laying a lawn using turf, press on with it in earnest (see September/October’s notes for creating a lawn). Lilies can be planted outdoors anytime from now through to the end of April, about 15cm/6” deep. If your soil is heavy, lay them on their sides on sharp sand to help drainage.
Herbaceous borders will need tidying up. Cut back dead and dying stems on perennials but leave evergreen foliage such as kniphofia (red hot poker). It’s a good month to buy shrubs for early flowering in the greenhouse such as hydrangeas, deutzias and lilacs.
Carry on planting deciduous trees, shrubs and climbers. If you run out of time or the ground is frozen or very wet, hold further planting over until February.
- Check stakes and ties on trees and climbers before the high winds arrive
- Keep sweeping up the leaves and bag them to make leaf mould
- Clean pots and trays, use a little washing up liquid in a bowl or bucket and then hose them off, stack them ready for spring
- Plant tulips in containers if you’re not putting them in the ground, or put them in pots sunk into the ground and lift the pots after flowering.
- Plant bare rooted roses
- Last planting of anemone tubers, Canterbury bells, pansies, Sweet William, irises
- Push rose prunings into the ground in a sheltered position where they may ‘strike’ and give you more plants
- Sow cyclamen seeds for next year