Top Tips for November
It's that time of year again, when we all struggle to remember if the clocks go forward or back and we start ‘Thermostat war’ with our other halves over the temperature in the house! Ever darkening days, crisp and chilly weather, trees shredding their remaining leaves…But it’s not all doom and gloom – here are some of our November top tips to ensure your garden keeps in good shape with an array of colour that you can enjoy over the winter months.
If time is limited in the garden this month, here are our Top Ten tips:
1. Plant Tulip Bulbs and Winter bedding
2. Plant out Fruit Trees and Bare-Root Hedging
3. Insulate your containers from frost
4. Protect tender plants by covering with fleece
5. Keep bird feeders replenished and be careful when clearing mounds of leaves in case wildlife is hibernating
6. Prune roses and plant new varieties
7. Plant soft fruit to ensure delicious berries next year
8. Rake fallen leaves from your lawn
9. Use an Autumn Lawn Feed to help it withstand the harsh winter weather
10.Transplant trees and shrubs growing in unsuitable positions
If you have a little more time to spare….
BEDS AND BORDERS
Plant Tulip bulbs for a display next Spring. Tulips are versatile plants which will provide your garden with a stunning structural display of colour next Spring. This year our selection consisted of 280 different varieties of bulbs. Whether it’s Tulips, Daffodils or Hyacinthus that you love we’ll have something for you.
Now is a great chance to plant out Winter bedding. We have a wide selection of Wallflowers (9 varieties), Viola, Winter Pansies, Primroses, Cyclamen and other Spring bedding favourites available. Plant them in well prepared ground, or pots of suitable compost.
Continue to cut back any faded or finished herbaceous perennials and add to the compost heap. You can also lift and divide any clumps that have become too overgrown.
Bare-Root deciduous hedging plants will be available at Coolings from the end of November, they need to be planted promptly before they dry out.
It is an ideal time to plant your roses but avoid planting in areas where roses were previously growing to avoid rose sickness. Climbing roses should be pruned now.
Plant out fruit trees and bushes. Fruit trees, with the right training, can bring a sense of structure to your garden, as well as a delicious harvest. When making your selection, always check with us that your chosen fruit tree is compatible with the environment you have selected as its home. It is also good to check if your tree is self-fertile as if it isn’t, you may need another tree to pollinate it.
Some shrubs, including Mahonia and Winter Jasmine, will actually be flowering this month, giving another welcome splash of colour to the garden alongside the Autumn leaves. Make a start at taking hardwood cuttings of plants such as Forsythia, Viburnum and Spiraea.
This is also a good time to transplant trees and shrubs growing in unsuitable positions. However, if they are more than a few years old, it become harder to remove an intact root ball to ensure the plant’s survival so you may be best advised to leave alone.
Prepare for autumn and winter gales by removing dead or decaying branches on established trees and checking that recently planted trees are well staked and that ties are secure.
An Autumn mulch, such as Arthur Bowers Mulch & Mix, will also protect any flowering plants from frosts. Alternatively, within dry weather, rake up fallen leaves and use them to make leaf mould – an ideal soil conditioner.
Now is the time to move terracotta and stone pots along with ornaments that are not guaranteed to be frost-proof into a shed, garage or greenhouse for the Winter. If your pots are too large to move inside, you will need to insulate them from the cold to prevent the roots of plants in the containers getting frost damaged. Bubble wrap is ideal to keep your pots and roots protected from frost (£2 per metre by the metre). Also, don't forget to protect more delicate plants with fleece (£1.50 per metre by the metre). Moving pots closer to walls can provide some extra protection – make it easier on yourself by purchasing some pot movers!
Make sure your gardening equipment is cleaned to avoid unwanted pests. Clean and sharpen your Secateurs ready for pruning trees and shrubs over the winter and ensure your lawnmower is serviced ready for next year.
Clean out your water butt ready for the extra rainfall at this time of year.
Remove any leaves which have fallen into your pond and which can be easily accessed, but don’t be too heavy-handed as hibernating wildlife can easily be disturbed. Put a net over the pond to prevent leaves falling in. Cut down plants that are growing around the pond and in the shallows, as old growth and leaves falling in the pond will rot and give off gases which are toxic to fish.
If you’re planning a bonfire for fireworks night, check for any visible signs that hibernating hedgehogs or toads might be there before plunging in your fork or setting light to your bonfire.
Clean out bird boxes as many birds will enter bird boxes during Autumn and Winter, looking for a great home to roost or perhaps to feed in. Keep birdfeeders replenished – remember birds need fat and protein too to keep them warm and keep their strength up, fat balls and suet cakes are perfect in addition to bird seed.
As well as planting your fruit trees you will also need to start planting soft fruits to ensure delicious berries next year. Not only is it very satisfying to grow your own, it’s also delicious and a good source of vitamins and fibre, making a great contribution to a healthy diet. Soft fruits are easy to grow in either the garden or in containers (blueberries and gooseberries do particularly well in pots) so why not have a go at growing your own? For more information on what we have in stock and how to plant click here: http://www.coolings.co.uk/news/304/soft-fruits-now-in
Remove the dead foliage of alpine strawberries and clear the ground around the plants at the same time to prevent snails and slugs overwintering in the debris, in wait for attacking next year’s crop of strawberries.
Complete the picking of any remaining apples and store only those that are blemish-free and sound. Remove any fruit showing signs of brown rot from the tree, as it may become mummified if left and cause disease problems next year.
Plant out shallots as sets, as more room appears in your vegetable garden. Make sure the tips of the shallots just show above the soil in rows about 30cm apart. Dig over vacant ground and work in well-rotted manure or compost.
If storing vegetables make sure that they are well spaced and dry, and if any are rotting throw them away. Leeks and parsnips may be left in the ground until required for use.
Rake fallen leaves off lawns before they block out light and moisture from the grass.
If the weather remains mild, it may be necessary to trim the lawn. Mowing will help deal with any annual weeds that have sprung up in new lawns sown earlier in the Autumn.
Use an Autumn lawn feed to toughen up your grass to help it withstand the harsh Winter weather. We recommend Evergreen Autumn 2 in 1 as it keeps your lawn green and thick, as well as makes roots and leaves strong and healthy. Avoid using left-over summer feeds as they contain too much nitrogen which stimulates lush growth, at this time of year lush growth will be vulnerable to diseases.
It’s too late to sow grass seed now, but new lawns can still be laid from turf if the weather is not too cold.
IN THE GREENHOUSE
Control pests and diseases encouraged by warm, damp conditions. Ventilate when possible to improve air circulation and control humidity.
Make sure heating is working efficiently as it will be required more and more as Winter continues to keep the greenhouse frost free.
Houseplants - Check any bulbs (e.g. Hyacinths and ‘Paper White’ Daffodils), being forced in darkness into early growth. When they have made about 2.5cm growth, bring them into light, cool room or frost-free greenhouse to grow on. When flower buds appear, they can be brought into warmer rooms to provide a seasonal display.