What to Do In November


It's probably going to be cold, wet and miserable out in the garden but never mind. It is November after all and there's still plenty of work to be done. If you haven't already done so, empty any pots that contained summer bedding and put spent compost on to borders as a mulch. Alternatively, you can mix some wild flower seed in with the compost and spread it on an unused or unmanageable part of your plot and then just wait for nature to take its course.

At this time of year, it's good to take the tops off roses to prevent wind rock, the movement from which can damage them, sometimes beyond repair. I have said before about keeping the base of roses clear of fallen leaves and at this time of year it is very important so as not to harbour any diseases. Also keep lawns and ponds clear of any leaves.

We still have time to plant out winter bedding to keep colour in the garden for as long as possible. Now is a good time to plant up pots of Tulips, making sure that you plant them deep enough; most of us don't. You can then plant pansies or primula on top to prolong the display. My personal favourites to go with tulips are wallflowers.

Make sure you raise your containers onto pot feet or just a few small stones to avoid water logging. Tulips are especially vulnerable in very wet conditions.

Now is the time of year to move shrubs growing in unsuitable places. Only move shrubs that are of a manageable size where you can get the whole root ball out. The more root you leave behind the less chance of it surviving. Ordered bare root trees and shrubs need to be planted as soon as possible before they dry out. The R H S recommend now as a good time to plant roses but advise against planting in an area where roses were previously grown otherwise new introductions may suffer from replant diseases (rose sickness).

High winds can cause a lot of damage in the garden if steps are not taken to combat the problem. Newly planted shrubs and trees should be securely staked. Climbers, if needs be, should be trimmed back and extra ties put on.

Hardwood cuttings of ornamental shrubs can be taken now; Cornus and Hydrangea are easy to do. I just cut pieces about 40cm (16ins) and stick them in the ground next to the plant i cut them from. My reasoning for this approach is if the soil is ok for the mother plant its should be ok for the cuttings, though I'm not sure if you would get that advice from the RHS.

I hope to see you at the Wenvoe Christmas Craft Fair on Sunday 26 November where there will be a couple of the local gardening experts who have given me some advice this year. If you want to ask them anything I will point them out to you so they can share the blame for this column.

Take care and happy gardening