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Garden maintenance; what should you be doing in the garden this November?

Autumn – the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’. It may sound quaint and appealing on paper, but in practice it’s hard to get motivated to get out in the garden when the weather noticeably deteriorates. Still, gardeners are made of sterner stuff: they know they have to get out in all weathers to prepare their gardens for the winter challenges that lie ahead. But what should you be doing now to ensure your garden will look its best when spring returns? Here are Ladybrook Nursery’s top garden maintenance tips for November.

General jobs around the garden

  • Wash, dry and store any used pots, seed trays and containers. This will remove any overwintering pests and protect your plants from diseases next year.
  • Clean gardening tools and store for the winter.
  • Clean out your seed stocks.
  • Clean out water butts.
  • Insulate taps and pipework with lagging to prevent damaging in freezing weather conditions.
  • Move container grown specimen plants to a sheltered spot in the garden to protect them from strong winds, heavy rain and frosts.
  • Raise potted plants off the ground to prevent them becoming waterlogged.
  • Collect leaves up for making leaf mould as a soil conditioner.
  • Build a new compost heap. Cover compost heaps with an old piece of carpet to keep the warmth in and maintain favourable decomposition conditions.
  • Keep on top of weeds while they are still in active growth. Dig over the soil on a dry day when the ground is not too wet. Incorporate plenty of organic matter such as spent compost, manure or mushroom compost.
  • Move deciduous trees and shrubs while they are dormant.
  • Prune deciduous shrubs and trees.
  • Plant evergreen shrubs and conifers.
  • Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs and trees and place them in a sheltered spot outdoors or in the cold frame to take root.
  • Take root cuttings from fleshy rooted herbaceous perennial plants to increase your stock. Place them in a cold frame or in a cold greenhouse to root.
  • When the temperature drops make sure bird feeders and bird tables are topped up with food.

Greenhouse maintenance

  • Replace damaged glass before the weather deteriorates.
  • Thoroughly clean out the greenhouse: wash the glass, the floor and the staging with horticultural disinfectant to kill any overwintering pests and diseases.
  • Insulate the greenhouse with sheets of bubble wrap, to reduce heat loss.
  • Ventilate the greenhouse, particularly after watering and when paraffin heaters are used at night.
  • As the winter approaches, take care not to over water plants. Little and often is the key to better garden husbandry.

Plants and Flowers

  • It’s not too late to plant daffodil and other spring-flowering bulbs, but plant now to guarantee flowers next spring. Plant tulip now as soon as you can to prevent Tulip Fire infection.
  • Plant out spring bedding displays of pansies, violas and primulas.
  • Start to plant bare-root roses – they can be planted any time between now and March.
  • Plant heathers, grasses and trailing ivy in pots for winter colour.
  • Plant magnolia trees now for a beautiful spring
  • Gather up fallen leaves from around the base of rose bushes which suffered from blackspot or rust this summer, to reduce the chance of infection next year.
  • Continue to lift dahlia tubers, begonias and gladiolus corms to store dry over the winter months. Remove the dead foliage before storing.
  • Cut back the yellowing foliage of herbaceous perennials, and lift and divide overcrowded clumps to maintain their vigour.

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