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November Tips

The Ornamental Garden

  • Unless the soil is too wet or actually frozen it’s still a good time for planting of hardy plants.
  • Reduce the height of Lavatera, but leave the hard pruning until spring.
  • Deciduous trees that have lost their leaves can be pruned now
  • Fork over borders and work into the soil a slow release feed such as Fish, Blood and Bone or Bone Meal. Top off with a mulch of mushroom compost or chipped bark. There’s still time to re-plant your tubs and hanging baskets for winter and spring colour. If you are not, take them down, empty them out and put them away for winter.
  • Move plants in pots together so that they protect one another in cold weather. Remove saucers from underneath them and ensure excess water can get away through the drainage holes in the base by standing them on pot feet.
  • Protect tender alpine plants from the cold and wet. Many are protected by several feet of snow where they grow in the wild. This not only protects them from severe cold but also keeps them drier. Use a sheet of glass or a garden cloche.
  • If you haven’t done it already, trim the dead flower heads off summer and autumn flowering heathers. A sharp pair of shears or topiary shears (an excellent gift) is suitable for this. Trim a little of the shoot tips off too as this will keep them nice and compact.
  • Check potted bulbs that you are going to force into flower early. Make sure that they are well watered. If they have made sufficient roots and, in the case of Hyacinths, the flower bud has emerged from the bulb, they can be put into a well lit warm place to start the forcing.
  • Pot up Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs. Use quality multipurpose compost and leave the top third of the bulb standing proud of the compost. Water very little until leaves appear. Re-pot older plants into fresh compost now too.
  • The winter flowering Cyclamen coum are available this month, plant with the autumn flowering Cyclamen hederifolium for an extended display of colour. Plant in the shade of trees or in the rockery and watch them form strong winter flowering colonies over the years!
  • Dust Gladioli and Begonia corms and Dahlia tubers [after drying] with Yellow Sulphur dust to stop the rots developing and store in a frost-free place.
  • Treat paths with Algon organic cleaner to control algae and moulds that make them slippery when wet. This is ideal for cleaning decking too
  • Control moss on the lawn with Aftercut Autumn All in One if before mid-November, use Vitax Green Up Lawn tonic if later.
  • Plant new hedges this month. They don’t have to be all Leylandii! We have masses of choices and lots are native which is good for wildlife.
  • Sweep up leaves and compost them add a compost accelerator to speed up the process.
  • Disconnect your hosepipe from the outside tap, store it and lag the tap to protect it from frost.
  • If you can’t put your garden furniture inside then it is probably worth investing in a cover. That way you can whip the cover off and sit in the garden whenever the sun shines! Wooden furniture should be cleaned down and treated with good oil when dry.
  • Plant tulip bulbs [if not done already]. Urgently plant any other bulbs.

The Greenhouse

  • Insulate greenhouses with bubble polythene. A layer of this can lift the temperature by a few critical degrees to keep frost out of an unheated house but could save up to a third of fuel costs in a heated greenhouse.
  • Open the ventilators a little on mild days. This will encourage good air circulation and will minimise diseases.
  • Use our micro-feed ‘Compost Tea’ to keep your plants happy and disease free. Contact us for brewing dates, which are restricted during winter.
  • Wash the glass down with Jeyes multipurpose disinfectant and cleaner to let in as much light as available.
  • Try propagating plants by taking root cuttings now. It is surprisingly easy to do but not all plants can be multiplied this way. Oriental poppies, border phlox, some Primula, mullein, sea holly, bear’s breeches and Dicentra are well worth trying. Dig up a healthy plant, cut thicker roots into 5-7cm lengths and ‘sow’ them in pots filled with cutting compost. They should be rooted by late spring.

The Inside Garden

  • Reduce water given to cacti and succulents in winter, they still need some and will also benefit from a weak feed every month or so. Christmas cacti [Zygocactus or Schlumbergia] need more regular watering otherwise they will drop their flower buds.
  • Reduce the feeding of indoor plants to just fortnightly and reduce the amount of water too.
  • Our English grown Cyclamen are at their best this month! They are perfect for cool rooms or conservatories. Water only from the base.

The Kitchen Garden

  • Check fruit trees for signs of canker. Cut off infected shoots if small but for larger important branches it will be necessary to brush away the dead loose cankered tissue, tidy it up with a sharp knife and then paint the wound with Arbrex Seal and Heal.  Unfortunately canker is more common in the West Country. Now is a good time to plant varieties that have canker resistance like ‘Sunset’, ‘Fiesta’ and ‘Bramley’.
  • Attach sticky Glue Band Traps to the trunks of fruit trees. These will trap the winter moth on its’ way up the trunk to lay its’ eggs. Do the stake too!
  • Apply Winter Wash to fruit trees and bushes now to control any insect pests that are over wintering in cracks and crevices
  • Remove any fruit that has brown rot. Burn or bin it. This infected fruit often hangs on the trees as mummified clusters lurking ready to infect next years’ crop!
  • Pinch immature figs off outdoor plants. These will not grow on if left but will rot on the tree so are best taken off now. Anything smaller than the size of a pea can be left to grow on and should survive the winter to ripen next summer. Where the fig is growing in a pot protect the tender roots from frost by wrapping the pot.
  • Check stored fruit regularly. Remove and eat any that are ripe but check for any that are rotting and remove them promptly.
  • Plant fruit canes and bushes. Many varieties of containerized and pot grown in stock now.
  • Complete autumn digging in the veg patch, leave the ground rough and let the frost and rain break it up. Add Clay Breaker and plenty of organic matter (Revive, Mushroom compost or Farmyard Manure etc.) to improve heavy clay soil and very light sandy soil too.

The Wildlife Garden

  • Wash bird feeders and tables with Jeyes Disinfectant to minimise spread of bird diseases.
  • Erect a net over your pond to prevent falling leaves from trees and shrubs getting into the water and increasing the nutrient levels when they breakdown. They may also deprive the fish of oxygen as they decompose.
  • Remove dead leaves from pond plants as they die back.
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