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Monday 4 November 2019

This Month in Your Garden - November

‘Dull November brings the blast, then the leaves are whirling fast’.  - Sara Coleridge.

Another poet, James Rigg, in his ‘Wildflower Lyrics’ wrote of October ‘yielding her easel bright to November’s black and white.’ A slight misquote but one which demonstrates the way we used to see November. With so much choice today, it needn’t be a dull month at all. There’s plenty of activity with late digging, composting, cleaning the greenhouse, and planting bare root roses, along with clematis, honeysuckle and jasmine.

There’s pruning to be done and hedges to be trimmed, manure and compost to be worked into flower beds and herbaceous borders to be dug over. But what of winter colour and brightening up the month and those which follow? Plant Skimmia, dogwood, winter pansies and cyclamen, viburnum, winter flowering heather, winter aconites, Daphne and Sarcococca and you’ve got quite a display through the dark months.

Now you’re planting you’ll want to put it anemone tubers, irises, Sweet William and of course tulips in informal drifts, which are best planted in November to avoid the occurrence of tulip fire. If you have trees around there will be plenty of leaves to be cleared up and leaf mould to be made, which is easily done by leaving the leaves in black plastic bags to rot down.

Sow sweet peas in pots if you haven’t already done so, plant up containers with all those lovely colours and if you have space in a conservatory or greenhouse bring in fuchsias, argyranthemums and pelargoniums to overwinter.

At the first frost and blackening of the leaves on dahlias, lift the tubers and leave them upside down in trays to drain, then store in a little compost ready to plant out next year.

  • You can still lay turf in prepared areas
  • Protect alpines and woolly-leaved plants from winter rains
  • Plant trees, shrubs and climbers
  • Clear leaves from the pond
  • Lift and store cannas and begonias
  • Apply an autumn mulch to Agapanthus and Kniphofia
  • Lift and divide overgrown herbaceous perennials
  • Plant containers for winter colour
  • Feed the birds

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