November in the garden
This month may be the final chance to do the big garden clear up with Christmas preparations commencing and weather inhibiting much outside garden work.
Cut back and remove all frosted dead leaves and pull up dahlia tubers for storage. Burn black spot rose leaves together with all other infected foliage – don’t compost them! Collect fallen leaves, and if possible keep them in black plastic bags with air holes. Leaving leaves on the grass or flower beds does a lot of damage and gives pests, especially slugs and snails, a cosy winter hibernating habitat.
Have you planted any spring bulbs? It’s not too late. Tulips should be planted now while the ground is still soft. Cyclamens are flowering their heads off and are reasonably priced at garden centres for buying in winter colour. New bare root roses should be planted now and existing rose shrubs cut back fairly hard to stimulate good growth in mid spring. If left roses will exhaust themselves budding, but won’t flower.
Last chance to cut back by a third shrubs that have finished autumn flowering but not early spring shrubs such Rhododendrons and Camellias as they will have started budding already so double check first.
Winter flowering berry shrubs Ilex (Holly), Skimmia and Mahonia should be growing berries right now. Sarcococca is a superb, inexpensive and very fragrant winter easy-to-plant shrub.
Clean gardening equipment. I find a wire brush works wonders removing hardened soil. Take time to have a good look at your mowing equipment for safety checks and a possible self service. Nothing is more irritating on a lovely spring morning when you do your first cut and you find the machine is silent or sending out clouds of smoke!
Move indoors tender plants in containers, they will perish in an unheated greenhouse. A porch or heated conservatory is ideal. Remove pumps and lights from ponds and store decorative garden lights which can be badly damaged in severe damp frost and storms.