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Monday 2 November 2020

This Month in Your Garden - November

"Autumn is marching on: even the scarecrows are wearing dead leaves." Otsuyu Nakagawa

Well, they are saying we’re in for a mild winter, but this is Britain and we’re all experts at talking about the weather. November starts a little wet but nothing like 3rd October, the wettest day on record for the UK, with enough rain in a day to fill Loch Ness. 

The rest of this month even promises a fair amount of sunshine. No excuses then, there’s plenty to be done in the garden so let’s begin by digging flower beds to let the winter frosts break down the soil to a friable consistency. The more delicate hardy plants like Kniphofia and Agapanthus will benefit from an autumn mulch and you can lift and divide overgrown herbaceous perennials. 

November is the month to plant Tulips, avoiding the chance of Tulip Fire. They like the sunniest spot in the garden and if your soil is heavy, lighten it with some coarse grit or horticultural sand. 

Keep the bulbs in a cool, airy place until you’re ready to plant, which can be anytime now up to mid-winter. Plant three or four times the depth of the bulb beneath the surface. If you plant too shallow you will get short stems and stunted growth. Tulips in containers are best planted in a soil-based compost to help retain water and provide the right nutrient mix. 

Raise containers onto pot feet or bricks to prevent waterlogging. Plant in pots as you would in the ground, covering the drainage hole with a piece of broken pot. Water well and place the pot in a cool but protected spot. Begonias put on a great colourful display through summer and up to the first frosts when the tubers should be lifted and stored, the same as dahlias and cannas. 

You will find plenty of other autumn clear-up jobs to be done but take a moment to order seed catalogues and put out bird food.

  • Plant lilies on sharp sand in the planting hole for good drainage
  • Prune roses and plant bare-rooted roses
  • Plant clematis, jasmine, honeysuckle, deciduous and coniferous hedging
  • Plant winter bedding, anemone tubers, pansies, irises, Sweet William and Campanula
  • Sow sweet peas in pots 
  • Clear up leaves and compost separately from your main compost
  • Lift dahlia tubers and place upside down in trays to drain, store frost-free in old compost

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