November Gardening Tips

Pots & Borders

 

    • If you are not planting up your tubs and hanging baskets for winter and spring colour [why not!?] take them down, empty them out and put them away for winter.
    • Move plants in pots together so that they protect one another in cold weather. Remove saucers from underneath them and ensure excess water can get away through the drainage holes in the base by unblocking them and standing pots on pot feet. You can buy a set of three for most styles of pots but may have to improvise by standing pots on small pieces of wood for types where suitable feet are not available.
    • Protect tender alpine plants from the cold and wet. Many are protected by several feet of snow where they grow in the wild. This not only protects them from severe cold but also keeps them drier. Use a sheet of glass or a garden cloche. We have plenty of glass for sale after refurbishing our glasshouse roof, please ask a member of staff)
    • If you haven’t done it already, trim the dead flower heads off summer and autumn flowering heathers. A sharp pair of shears or Burgon & Ball topiary shears (an excellent gift) is suitable for this. Trim a little of the shoot tips off too as this will keep them nice and compact.

 

Trees, Shrubs, Roses, Conifers, etc.

 

    • If the soil is not too wet or actually frozen it’s still a good time for planting of hardy plants.
    • Reduce the height of Lavatera and Buddleja but leave the hard pruning until spring.
    • Fork over borders and work into the soil a slow release feed such as Fish, Blood and Bonemeal or Vitax Q4.

 

Bulbs

 

    • Plant tulip bulbs [if not done already]. Urgently plant any other bulbs.
    • Check potted bulbs that you are going to force into flower early. Make sure that they are well watered. If they have made sufficient roots and, in the case of Hyacinths, the flower bud has emerged from the bulb, they can be put into a well lit warm place to start the forcing.
    • Pot up Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs. Use John Innes soil based compost and leave one third of the bulb standing proud of the compost. Water very little until leaves appear. Re-pot older plants into fresh compost now too.
    • The winter flowering Cyclamen coum will be arriving from our local grower this month. Plant in the shade of trees or in the rockery and watch them form strong January flowering colonies over the years!
    • Dust dried off Gladioli and Begonia corms and Dahlia roots with Yellow Sulphur to stop the rots developing and store in a frost free place.

 

Greenhouse

 

    • Insulate greenhouses with bubble polythene. A layer of this can lift the temperature by a few critical degrees to keep frost out of an unheated house but could save up to a third of heating costs in a heated greenhouse.
    • Open the ventilators a little on mild days. This will encourage good air circulation and will minimise diseases.
    • Use our micro-feed ‘Compost Tea’ to keep your plants happy and disease free. Contact us for brewing dates which are restricted during winter.
    • Wash the glass down with Citrox or Jeyes Greenhouse disinfectant and cleaner. This will control most diseases but for pests burn a Dead Fast Greenhouse Smoke Generator.
    • Try propagating plants by taking root cuttings now. It is surprisingly easy to do but not all plants can be multiplied this way. Oriental poppies, border phlox, some Primula, mullein, sea holly, bear’s breeches and Dicentra are well worth trying. Dig up a healthy plant, cut thicker roots into 5-7cm lengths and ‘sow’ them in pots filled with cutting compost. They should be rooted by late spring. Read more here.

 

Wildlife & Pets

 

    • Wash bird feeders and tables with Jeyes or Citrox Disinfectant to minimise spread of bird diseases.
    • Continue to feed the birds

 

Grow Your Own Food

 

    • Check fruit trees for signs of canker. Cut off infected shoots if small but for larger important branches it will be necessary to brush away the dead loose cankered tissue, tidy it up with a sharp knife and then paint the wound with Medo canker paint. Unfortunately canker is more common in the West Country. Now is a good time to plant varieties that have canker resistance like ‘Sunset’, ‘Fiesta’ and ‘Bramley’.
    • Attach sticky Glue Band Traps to the trunks of fruit trees. These will trap the winter moth on its’ way up the trunk to lay its’ eggs. Do the stake too! Remove any fruit that has brown rot. Burn or bin it. This infected fruit often hangs on the trees as mummified clusters lurking ready to infect next years’ crop!
    • Apply Winter Wash to fruit trees and bushes once they are dormant. This will control any insect pests that are over wintering in cracks and crevices
    • Plant cherries, plums, pears, vines, figs, medlar, quince, blackberries, loganberries and lots of other fruits.
    • Pinch immature figs off outdoor plants. These will not grow on if left but will rot on the tree so are best taken off now. Anything smaller than the size of a pea can be left to grow on and should survive the winter to ripen next summer. Where the fig is growing in a pot protect the tender roots from frost by wrapping the pot.
    • Check stored fruit regularly. Remove and eat any that is ripe but check for any that are rotting and remove them promptly.
    • Plant fruit canes and bushes. Fruit bushes, Raspberries canes and rhubarb crowns are now in.
    • Complete autumn digging in the veg patch, leave the ground rough and let the frost and rain break it up. Add Vitax Clay Breaker and plenty of organic matter (Revive, Mushroom compost or Farmyard Manure etc.) to improve heavy clay soil and very light sandy soil too.

 

Lawns, Hedges, Paths and Drives

 

    • Treat paths with Algon [organic] or Patio Magic Path Cleaner to control algae and moulds that make them slippery when wet.
    • Control moss on the lawn with Vitax Green up Mosskiller.
    • Plant new hedges this month. They don’t have to all be Leylandii! We have masses to choose from and many are native which is good for wildlife. (Bare rooted ones due in later this month)
    • Sweep up leaves and compost them by adding compost activator to accelerate the break down process.

 

Bits & Pieces

 

    • Disconnect your hosepipe from the outside tap, store it and lag the tap to protect it from frost.
    • Control mice and rats that seek shelter in your out buildings as the weather gets colder. We stock a good range of products for this.
    • If you can’t put your garden furniture inside then it is probably worth investing in a cover. That way you can whip the cover off and sit in the garden whenever the sun shines! Wooden furniture should be cleaned down and treated with good oil when dry. I find a pressure hose, which can easily be rented, is remarkable good at getting algae off outdoor furniture.

 

The Inside Garden

 

  • Reduce water given to cacti and succulents in winter, they still need some and will also benefit from a weak feed every month or so. Christmas cacti [Zygocactus or Schlumbergia] need more regular watering otherwise they will drop their flower buds.
    • Reduce the feeding of indoor plants to just fortnightly and reduce the amount of water too.
  • Our Somerset grown Cyclamen are at their best this month! They are perfect for cool rooms or conservatories. Water only from the base.

Ponds and Bog Plants

 

    • Erect a net over your pond to prevent falling leaves from trees and shrubs getting into the water and increasing the nutrient levels when they breakdown. They may also deprive the fish of oxygen as they decompose.
    • Remove dead leaves from pond plants as they die back.
    • If you haven’t already done so – remove the pump and store it in a frost free place.