November in the Garden 2020

Monday, 16 November 2020  |  Alison

This month – Creating a special winter wonderland spot just for you. Plant tulip bulbs. Assessing crop successes (and failures). Pre-order your Brookside Nursery Spring 2021 catalogue.

November is that in between month when we gardeners dash out into the garden for twenty minutes before rain stops play for a while and the housework or house maintenance beckons. This year, however, with more time being spent at home, gardening and just being in a green space has become even more important to our well-being.  An inner need to reconnect with the solidness of the earth and the everchanging natural world has given us the chance to be aware of our surroundings and many of us have been able to appreciate the seasons in all their glory.

Autumn leaf colours have been magnificent over the last month or so but as leaves fall it gives us the opportunity to admire the stark beauty of tree shapes and forms with their differing array of trunks, branches and twigs especially when they are coated with a light dusting of frost in the morning sunlight.

As I write, garden centres are remaining open during the November lockdown, so if you have an opportunity to go to one you may find a plant that will give you joy throughout the winter months. Look out for the bright and cheery faces of pretty pansies, ilex (holly), pittosporum, euphorbia and evergreen grasses. We have a good choice of winter colour garden-ready plants available on our website, so if you can’t get out, there is always the option to order online and have your plants delivered.

Here are a few things you may like to do in your garden this November -

Create a special winter wonderland spot just for you - With all the uncertainty surrounding us in the outside world, having a tiny area of your garden or outside space just for you to enjoy will feel like a real luxury this winter and it needn’t cost a fortune.  What you are trying to create is your very own happy place using the things you already have and love in your garden and home.

Place an old garden chair and small table (or upturned terracotta pot) in a morning sun trap, sunny afternoon spot or early evening sheltered area and surround yourself with your favourite pots and ornaments from around the garden. Fill the pots with spring bulbs and top off with colourful pansies and bellis daisies or small shrubs like daphne (wonderful winter scented flowers) or evergreen coloured grasses.  If you have windchimes in the garden, bring them closer to enjoy the soothing tinkling sounds in the breeze.

Drape a string of lights around your pots or place them at eye level in nearby shrubs or trees. These can be either battery or solar powered ones. If you have garden lanterns, gather them round, then place scented candles inside and light them up whenever you sit down. It’s the fragrance you are after, so choose a favourite one.

Fill a large shallow container with water that birds can drink from and if you have a bird feeder bring that closer to your special area - the birds will soon get to know where it is and will be feeding, drinking (and bathing) within a day or so.

Have a cosy blanket, colourful cushion, lighter, hat & gloves, magazine or book (hot water bottle for the coldest days) ready by the door so that at a moment’s notice you can be outside in the fresh air. Lastly, take a mug of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, snuggle up and take the time to sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature in your special spot.

Plant tulip bulbs Anytime in November is perfect for planting tulip bulbs. They can be affected by ‘tulip fire’, a fungal disease that stunts and distorts the growth if planted too early but once the soil is colder it is time for tulips to go into the ground or pots.  I love clearing faded summer bedding plants away and the act of planting spring bulbs gives me something to look forward to from early next year, with snowdrops and crocus in flower from January and by choosing the right bulbs I should have colour through until the end of May with just spring bulbs.

Assessing crops successes (and failures) – It seems an age ago now, but during the spring lockdown thousands of beginner and more experienced gardeners had a go at growing vegetables. Certainly, I did too, having grown mainly flowers in recent years. I cleared a small area, dug it over and excitedly sowed seeds and planted vegetable plugs, tomatoes, chillies, courgettes, runner beans and spinach.  I had to have my flowers though too, so sweet peas and dahlias had to grow alongside.  

For me, huge successes for runner beans, cavelo nero and spinach.  Failures – beetroot, sweetcorn and spring onions. I put the successes down to the plants having more space to mature and regular watering and feeding. The failures had the water but crucially not the space, light and air to grow strongly and healthily. So next year, after lessons learnt, I will plant less crops but give them room to grow!


Pre-order your Brookside Nursery Spring 2021 catalogue - You can go online now and pre-order next year’s spring catalogue for delivery from January 2021. We are working hard on our new catalogue and as well as our customer favourites of petunias and fuchsias there will be exciting new plants to tempt you. If you can’t wait until then, you can see many of the plug plants, vegetables and garden ready plants that can be ordered now for delivery from mid-March 2021 on our website

Have a safe November and happy gardening!


Your Brookside Blogger

Brookside Nursery