November in the garden

November in the garden and there's plenty to be doing to keep warm.

With bonfire smoke pervading the air, November is an evocative time in the garden. It's also a busy one.

Some quick tips for the garden in November:

  • Before lighting any bonfires check that they are clear of animals such as hedgehogs.  Animals often like to bury themselves in the warmth of leaves, especially if they are piled up, for some added safety so it is always worth checking through your heap before lighting it.
  • Long straggly rose stems will rock in the wind and snap so it is best if you prune hard to prevent any damage to the plant which could prevent it from reflowering next year.
  • Birds need additional feed and water at this time of year. Clean out birdbaths and top up with water and keep feeders full.  Be sure to check them regularly to make sure they aren't frozen over, otherwise your birds will have to fly elsewhere to find water and may not return.
  • Spread a thin layer of leaves onto bare soil. Worms will drag them in and improve the soil structure. Thin layers only mind you – it's hard work for the worms.
  • Raise your containers off the patio using pot feet or bricks to prevent the roots getting too cold or freezing over. It allows water to drain freely and prevents water logging in the pots.
  • Before putting the mower away for the winter make sure it is clean. Remove bits of old grass and mud with a wire brush and carefully drain petrol into a suitable container.
  • Shrubs can be planted now and can add sensational winter colour to otherwise dull borders. Only plant if the soil isn't frozen or waterlogged. Try Daphne, viburnum and skimmias for delightful colour and scent.
  • Any gaps in the garden are now obvious so use any wet days to plan for spring.

Don't stand still and get cold – there's so much to do.

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