“We might think we are nurturing our garden but of course it’s our gardening that is really nurturing us.” Jenny Uglow
Grow Your Own
As temperatures really start to drop, don’t forget that some of your edibles will need some weather protection – any fruit or herbs in pots are prone to winter damage from both wet and cold, so check all drainage holes are clear so compost can’t become soggy, and wrap the sides of pots in insulating fabric or bubble-wrap to reduce the risk of roots becoming frozen in the coming months. Keep planting bare root fruit trees and bushes as soon as you can, they establish well at this time of year!
Patios & Pots
There are plenty of plants available to create gorgeous late autumn and winter containers – try violas, winter flowering pansies, cinnerarias, autumn cyclamen, pom-pom Bellis and underplant with a selection of smaller spring-flowering bulbs such as iris reticulata, crocuses, miniature daffodils, that way your display will stay looking pretty until it is time for summer bedding plants to go in!
Use proprietary leaf-wipes or kitchen roll moistened with tepid water to gently wipe leaves – doing this regularly helps to remove dust and other debris which builds up, reduces the light the plants receive and makes them look unloved! Many houseplants will now be growing more slowly so take great care not to overwater and always ensure that, after watering, any excess water can drain away before you put plants back on their trays or in their pot covers.
Beds & Borders
Time to tidy up beds and borders, cut off any diseased or infested stems or leaves, but leaving some remains of the plants in place – this helps to protect the ‘crowns’ from winter damage and may provide a useful place for insects to overwinter. Try to leave any seed heads in place – they look lovely covered with frost and their seeds may also provide useful sources of food for birds. Keep planting bulbs, including tulips, this month – in beds and also use some, like crocus and daffodils for naturalising under shrubs or trees.
Trees, Shrubs and Climbers
It is still a good time to plant trees, shrubs and climbers, unless the soil has already become wet or very cold where you are. It may also be worth supplying a little winter protection, perhaps in the form of a few layers of fleece as even hardy plants can be a little tender when newly planted. As natural food sources become more scarce rabbits may be more inclined to do damage, so protecting plants using spiral tree guards or other barriers is a good idea too.
- Protecting trees & shrubs
- Protecting plants from rabbits
- Managing trees & shrubs in November
- How to plant trees & shrubs
- Shrubs that look good in November
Lawns, Ponds & Water Features
Lawns can deteriorate if fallen leaves accumulate on them for too long and then become wet, creating a smothering effect – regular raking off using a spring-tined rake soon sorts the problem, then use the leaves to make leafmould ( a great way to improve soil texture). Many pond plants and marginals start to dieback at this time of year, use sharp secateurs to cut of any deteriorating or flopping foliage before it starts to rot off in the pond.