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November in the Garden

by Aislinn Dunne | Nov 01, 2013
November in the Garden

The leaves are falling and the days of wind and rain are gaining in number. As well as wrapping yourself up warm – your garden needs plenty of TLC in November as you put it to bed for the Winter and plan ahead for next year.

Plant tulip bulbs for a spring display next year
There's still time to plant daffodil bulbs and other spring flowering bulbs for a magnificent start to next year’s display. Tulips are quite happy to be planted through to the end of the month, but other bulbs should be in the ground before it loses the heat of the summer months. 

Clear up fallen leaves - especially from lawns and beds
Fallen leaves prevent light and air getting to plants and lawns and these dark, damp conditions are dream conditions for slugs, snails and a host of nasty fungal diseases. Avoid any problems by collecting fallen leaves regularly and moving them to a leaf bin, compost pile or even fill a few bin bags (with plenty of air holes) and let them break down in a quiet corner of your garden. You should also gather up fallen leaves from around the base of rose bushes which suffered from blackspot or rust this summer, to reduce the chance of infection next year.

Get planting
Bare-rooted trees, shrubs, hedging and roses as well as fruit trees and bushes can all be planted now. All bare rooted plants should be planted in the dormant season between November and March. Soak the roots in a bucket of water for an hour first and protect against frost and wind if exposed. 

Colourful winter planters
Brighten up your front door and windows with cheerful winter containers. Apart from the usual violas, pansies, primulas and polyanthus, consider using shrubs such as skimmia, euonymus or box and also evergreen perennials, grasses and sedges such as heuchera, Stipa tenuissima and festuca for structure. Watch CountryLife horticulturist Fergal show you how to create a Winter & Spring planter using a mix of bedding plants and bulbs.

Protect tender perennials
If you haven't done so already, move tender perennials into the shelter of a cool greenhouse, frame or garage and water less to bring on a state of semi dormancy. In colder areas, tuberous-rooted cannas and dahlias should be dug up and stored in just-damp compost in a cool, airy place. In warmer areas, an ample mulch of compost or leaf mould should protect them and they can stay put.

Watch out for wind rock
Stake top-heavy brassicas and draw up some soil around the base of the stem to prevent wind rocking the plant and causing damage to the roots. Lightly prune bush roses now, if not done already, as reducing their height will prevent wind-rock. Roses are generally shallow rooted and can become loose in the soil if buffeted by strong winds.

Look after your lawn
If you haven't already aerated your lawn, there's still time to do it before winter sets in. You can use either a lawn aerator or simply insert a garden fork at regular intervals and lean it back slightly to let air in. Remember to set your lawn mower to a higher cut-height for winter and continue to clear fallen leaves off the lawn to keep it healthy.

Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging
Raise potted plants off the ground to prevent them becoming waterlogged and remove any saucers from under pots as the water in them could freeze in the first frosts and crack your pots.

Prune fruit bushes
Prune pear and apple trees anytime between now and February. But don't be tempted to prune your plum trees now as they will be susceptible to the silver leaf fungus - wait until midsummer.

Help the birds prepare for winter
Remember - winter can be a tough time for birds and they require high energy (high fat) foods during the cold winter weather to maintain their fat reserves to survive the frosty nights. At this time of year, put out food and water on a regular basis. In severe weather, feed twice daily if you can: in the morning and in the early afternoon. Black sunflower seeds are an excellent year-round food, and in many areas are even more popular than peanuts. The oil content is higher in black than striped ones, and so they are much better. Nyjer seeds also have a high oil content and are particular favourites with goldfinches and siskins. Peanuts are rich in fat and are popular with tits, greenfinches, house sparrows, nuthatches, great spotted woodpeckers and siskins. Crushed or grated nuts attract robins, dunnocks and even wrens. Feeding birds is also an ideal way to enthuse children about wildlife.

Fergal’s Bio
Hi my name is Fergal, I have been a horticulturist with CountryLife since April 2009 in the New Ross branch . I have a BSC in horticulture which I received from WIT and Kildalton College . Before joining CountryLife I worked in Ballymaloe cookery school in Shanagary Co. Cork were I was involved in fruit and vegetable production for the cookery school and also the farmers Market in Middleton every Saturday. After Ballymaloe I went to work in Mount Congreve Estate in Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford where I worked on the grounds of the estate maintaining the gardens. I love planting seeds and taking cuttings of plants, giving them a little bit of care and attention and watching them grow into mature plants. Fergal - See more at: