November in your garden

3 CommentsThursday, 10 November 2016  |  Alison

With such a pleasant and mild October this year, trees and shrubs have given us spectacular displays of autumn leaf colours ranging from pale yellows through to golds, bright oranges to deep russets and the most beautiful red tones of scarlet, crimson and burgundies.  Make the most of it though, as colder nights are forecast and leaves will be falling to the ground in no time.

Jobs you can be getting on with in your garden are of course endless but here are a few pointers:-

  • Leaf mould - It is a great time of year to make leaf mould as the autumn leaves fall. Collect the leaves and place them in a black plastic sack punched with holes to allow the air to flow and leave for a year in a shady spot in the garden. You will then have a great mulch to help improve your soil. Leaf mould is ideal to use with lilies grown in pots as the fibrous texture retains moisture and gives good drainage.  Woodland plants such as trillium, rhododendrons and wood anemone will also benefit from a mulch with leaf mould.

  • Dahlias -When frost blackens the leaves of dahlias, it is nature’s way of telling you it is time to lift and store the plants for winter. Cut back the stems, carefully dig up the tubers, shake off any excess soil, place tubers in a dry spot in the shed or greenhouse upside down and allow them to dry off for a few days. Then, in a deep tray that has a base of vermiculite or a mixture of horticultural sand & compost, place them right side up and cover with compost.    They will now remain dormant for the winter. Check them every month or so and any tubers that are rotting can be removed.  Also check the tubers are not drying out too much and shrivelling.  Just lightly moisten the compost and this should ensure that they stay in great condition until next year’s shoots emerge and the tubers can be re-potted with new compost.   
  • Tender tropical plants like the Japanese banana, Musa basjoo, may need winter protection almost everywhere in the UK. Cut back the leaves from the trunk and then either wrap the trunk in fleece and hessian or make a wire frame with chicken wire around the plant and stuff this with plenty of straw.  Then secure a piece of polythene sheet to the top to prevent rain getting in.
  • Bare-root trees, shrubs and hedging - November is an ideal month for planting bare-root plants.  Roses, hedging and fruit trees are all much cheaper when bought as bare-root rather than pot grown, so if you have a larger area to plant up it makes sense to buy them like this.  Soak the roots for an hour before planting and give them a good head start by choosing the correct compost/soil.
  • Pruning – This is a great time of year to prune back any taller deciduous shrubs that have shed their leaves. You can see the overall shape and see exactly where you are cutting back.

Hedgehogs – If you are lucky enough to have seen or heard a hedgehog snuffling along the back of your borders during the summer months please take care when raking leaves or generally tidying up your borders, especially if you are digging as they may have made a nest and are in hibernation for the winter.

****This week in my garden, I found a perfectly rounded mound that is a hedgehog hibernation house, carefully made with twigs, earth, leaves and the tell-tale sign in my garden is the use of dry, fallen bamboo leaves that have been used and are several feet away from the actual bamboo plant. How lucky am I?

Have fun and enjoy your garden!

Shirley Hambelton
Friday, 18 November 2016  |  16:09

thank you for all the information even very long in the tooth gardeners like me can learn something new. we had hedgehogs but were attacked by badgers, it was such a shock and very sad as we fed them and they were so lovely to watch, but we enjoyed the badgers also, nature as they say is cruel, In a hew house and garden near fields may see the lovely prickly creatures one day

Alison Smith
Saturday, 26 November 2016  |  15:32

Hello Shirley and thank you for your kind comments regarding our blog.
I am indeed very fortunate to have a hedgehog in my garden when there are so few left in the UK.
I am currently writing a blog about hedgehogs and lack there of, so would love your feedback about that.

Thank you

Shirley Hambelton
Friday, 18 November 2016  |  16:12

when I was young we saw so many hedgehogs, my father always put out a saucer of bread and milk, which now we are told not to do. Do the prevalence of the badger have anything to do with their demise, in our countryside they certainly do.

Brookside Nursery