November … the clocks have gone back in the UK and people in some parts of the country are waking up to a ground frost. Autumn is turning into winter – but there’s still plenty to do in the garden.
For many gardeners, the lawnmower will have been put away for the winter. But if there is a prolonged period of mild weather this month, the grass will continue to grow and might need a little trim. Don’t overdo it though: the grass needs to be a few centimetres long to prevent damaging the turf.
It’s important to clear fallen leaves from your lawn to ensure it gets the light and moisture it needs. Remove any fungi that might have appeared.
Garden machinery and tools
Before putting your lawnmower, hedge-trimmer and other machinery away for the winter, make sure you give them a good clean first. Allow to dry before putting away. And, importantly, remove any remaining petrol because it doesn’t keep and might cause problems when you next try to start your petrol mower. In fact, a winter service might be in order to ensure your mower is in tip-top condition in 2018. Clean and sharpen hand tools, too.
Flowers & plants
November is a good month for planting lily and tulip bulbs, and if you haven’t done your winter bedding plants yet then get cracking now before it’s too late.
It’s also an ideal time to plant roses, but choose an area of the garden where roses haven’t been before to avoid the risk of replant disease. Established bush roses and climbing roses should be pruned to prevent possible damage from windy weather.
Check for any flowers that still need to be dead-headed or cut back and you might want to lift movable tender plants and bring them into a shed or garage. Some wall shrubs and climbers will need a helping hand to see them through the winter, too. Tie them to their supports to keep them safe during high winds.
As with the lawn, remove fallen leaves from your borders and dig up any weeds that emerge, which perennial ones are particularly prone to do during mild spells.
For those of you with fruit and veg, now is the time to prune your fruit trees and thin out spurs where needed. If you have a vegetable plot, keep it clear of fallen leaves and plant debris.
A winter mulch will help to protect plants and are also good for the soil. Large pots that aren’t frost-proof should be wrapped up to prevent them cracking. Use a good insulating material, such as hessian or fleece.
And don’t forget our wildlife:
Garden birds need some help at this time of year. Energy-providing fat blocks in wire cages are great, as are berry cakes. A grain mix will keep most garden birds happy – feeders are best for keeping out larger animals – while fruit such as ripe apples go down a treat with thrushes and blackbirds. Leave a dish of clean, fresh water out, too, but not where birds might be prey to cats. Of By helping our vulnerable garden birds, you’ll be rewarded with the sight and sound of some very welcome visitors during the winter months!