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November In Your Garden

1st of November 2011

The record breaking Indian summer in early October was very welcome by gardeners and gardens alike. Plants have been somewhat confused by the unusual weather pattern this year with magnolias and rhododendrons producing a second and even third set of flowers. However, it is pretty certain that trees and deciduous shrubs will lose their leaves by the end of November and we will be kept busy sweeping them up and consigning them to either the compost heap or to create some excellent leaf mould.

Vegetables and fruit
Start to harvest brussels sprouts and dig up the rest of the parsnips. Press on with the winter digging before the ground gets frozen. Sow broad beans now to get an early crop next year. Protect brassicas with strong netting against greedy pigeons. Raspberry canes are planted from November until March and this is a good time to plant new fruit trees and soft fruit bushes such as blackcurrants and gooseberries. There has been a phenomenal apple harvest this year but do check apples in store and remove any which may have started to rot. Begin to prune apple and pear trees but do not prune plum trees until summer.

Flowers and shrubs
Plant tulips and other spring flowering bulbs this month. Canterbury bells, sweet williams, bellis and wallflowers can be planted now and bedding plants such as pansies, violas, polyanthus and primroses can be planted in garden beds, containers, window boxes and hanging baskets. The colourful half hardy cyclamen should be planted in sheltered places. Start to plant hedging plants such as privet, quickthorn, hornbeam and beech. This is a good time to plant new roses, herbaceous perennials and shrubs. When planting put a small handful of bonemeal in the bottom of the hole and always stake large plants to prevent wind rocking. Insulate the pots of container grown shrubs to prevent frost damage to the roots.

The lawn
Do a final cut during a dryish spell before sending the lawn mower away for its winter service. It is now too late to fertilize the grass but still time to lay new turf before the ground freezes. Do not walk on the lawn in wet weather and always keep off when frozen. Make sure that leaves are removed from the grass.

The greenhouse
Take into the greenhouse all the tender perennials. Start to sow cyclamen now and pelargoniums shortly. Dahlia tubers should be dug up and taken inside and dusted with sulphur dust. Make sure that the heater is working and that the house has been lined with bubble plastic. Water plants sparingly and ventilate from time to time. Finally, make sure that outside taps have been insulated against frost and feed and provide water for the birds. If the weather gets bad, clean out the garden shed or do a little armchair gardening.

This page is edited by Tony

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