As we go into various degrees of lockdown, once again our gardens are becoming more and more important places to keep us sane. It’s a shame the weather is not as glorious as it was during the first lockdown but at least this time the garden centres are still open.
“November’s sky is chill and drear,Sir Walter Scott
November’s leaf is red and sear”
Well autumn has certainly arrived. The temperatures have started to fall and with them finally the leaves. Here’s a few jobs to think about if you find a dry day:
- Keep on top of the leaves. It’s a laborious job but it is worth while. Keep raking them up, especially if they are on your grass or on your patio and paths; wet leaves on hard surfaces can be dangerous, but don’t worry too much on your herbaceous borders as they will eventually rot down and improve the soil (Unless they are trapped around plants as they can be a hiding place for slugs).
Diseased leaves such as black spot infected rose leaves should be disposed of by burning to prevent carry over of infection. The rest stick on the compost heap.
- Keep cutting back herbaceous perennials once they go over and turn yellow.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecasts. If frost is predicted, bring in any tender plants or wrap them in several layers of fleece.
- Take hardwood cuttings (shrubs and trees such as Forsythia, Buddleia and Photinia) and root cuttings (Oriental poppies, Chaenomoles, Acanthus, Crambe, Dicentra, Eryngium). See Propagation section for instructions on how to do it.
- Not too late to plant bulbs. November is ideal for planting tulips and not too late for daffodils or crocus.
- Plant wallflowers and other winter bedding
- Depending on where you are in the country, you may need to lift your dahlias and store them over winter. If you are in a mild area just leave them in and mulch the crown to protect it. If not, cut the stem right down to just above ground level, dig up the tuber and wash off the soil. Let it dry and then store in sand, newspaper or dry compost. Keep them cool and dry but frost free.
- Raise your pots up off the ground by using pot feet. This will prevent water logging and encourage good drainage.
- Good time to winter prune your roses to prevent wind rock – don’t worry too much about how you do it as it won’t make a difference this time of year, just cut back by about a third.
- Start thinking about planting bare root hedging.
- Normally, we would expect to put the lawn mower away at this time of year, but if it continues to stay mild you might get another grass cut before Christmas especially if it’s dry. Don’t forget grass can still grow even at 5 degrees. If you are finished with it, give it a good clean before you put it away.
- If you are really bored and looking for something to do, you can always clean and oil your hand tools such as spades, hoes and forks – not my favourite job I must say.
- Take a few moments to do a bit of garden planning. Look back at your gardening successes and gardening failures and start to plan next year’s projects. There may be beds to dig over or new areas to plant.
- In the veg plot, clear away any dead or dying plants such as tomatoes and runner beans, dig over any bare areas and mulch with manure.