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November at Gardentime

Although the clocks have gone back, don’t despair. There’s still loads going on in the garden

It may be late autumn, but that’s no reason to retreat indoors. Actually this can be among the most rewarding times to spend time in the garden, with trees clothed in gold and red above brilliantly-coloured flowers in a bonfire of colour that lasts till the last leaf falls.

There are plenty of plants and bulbs which can be planted to give you great winter and spring displays, from skimmias and hellebores to cyclamen and heathers. Don’t forget its also a great time to plant spring bulbs, onion sets, garlic and wallflowers.

It’s also still prime planting time, and here at Gardentime we’re looking forward to the arrival of a variety of plants. Including new season roses, bare root hedges and bare root fruit bushes. All ready to go into your garden, raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants offer fantastic value for money and establish better too – so seize the moment to plant that new fruit patch and enjoy a sweet bonanza next summer!  Autumn is a perfect time to plant as the soil is still warm after the summer, which will encourage root growth giving your plants a head start in the spring. 

The days might be getting shorter, but there’s still gardening to be done in November. Now’s a great time to prune, tidy up and even do some planting so that your garden is ready to go when spring arrives. Here are our top 15 gardening tips for November.

Top 15 gardening tips for November

  1. Sow sweet peas now for earlier flowers next year. Soak the seeds in water overnight before sowing, then place the pots in a cold frame or greenhouse to overwinter.
  2. November’s the ideal month for planting tulips, and it’s not too late to plant other spring bulbs like daffodils and crocuses for a brilliant display of colour in spring.
  3. Plant up pots with violas, cyclamens and other winter-flowering plants to cheer up your patio through the cold winter months. 
  4. Get a headstart on next year’s crops. You can direct sow broad bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ outdoors for an early harvest next May in temperate areas. Put netting down over the soil to stop mice from getting to your seeds.  
  5. Plant garlic cloves now so that they get the winter chilling they need to grow well. You can also plant overwintering onion sets like ‘Radar’ or ‘Electric’ in well-drained soil for an early crop. (If your soil is heavy clay, grow the sets in modules in a greenhouse for planting out in spring.)
  6. Plant new soft fruit bushes such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and currants.
  7. November’s a good time to prune apple and pear trees and soft fruit like blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants, and gooseberries. Prune autumn-fruiting raspberries, cutting all the old canes to ground level.
  8. Keep harvesting the last carrots, cabbage and celeriac, but wait until after the first frosts to harvest parsnips, when they will have a sweeter flavour. 
  9. Mow your lawn on a high setting and rake up fallen leaves. If you haven’t aerated and scarified the lawn yet, there’s still time to do it this month. 
  10. Once you’ve harvested all your veg, spread well-rotted farmyard manure on the beds so that it has time to work into the soil over winter.
  11. Cut back shrub roses by a third to reduce the effect of wind rock.
  12. Lift dahlia, gladiolus and begonia tubers and store them in trays filled with dry compost over winter, ready for replanting in spring.
  13. Cut old hellebore leaves off at ground level. This makes it easier to see their gorgeous winter flowers and also helps stop the spread of hellebore black spots.
  14. Protect patio pots against icy temperatures and winter rain by wrapping them in hessian or bubble wrap and raising them up on pot feet.
  15. Put up a bird feeder and fill it regularly with high-energy foods like sunflower seeds or suet balls. Keep birdbaths topped up and free of ice so that birds can wash, helping them stay warm through icy weather.
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