November in the garden isn’t very exciting !!! The weather has certainly taken a sudden dive into the onset of winter. Not too cold but very wet which makes any job out in the garden more time consuming and all a wee bit muckyer !! But there is the odd good day with bright winter sunshine and a chill in the air when we can get some work done, and on the wet dreary days we can start getting ready for Christmas by planting up bowls, baskets and various containers with flowering house plants.
1. THE LAWN still needs some attention and the grass has continued to grow much later than other years. The grass could still do with a trim to keep it neat and tidy and will help to pick up fallen leaves. Raking these leaves off the grass prior to mowing may be necessary if there is too many for the mower to collect. Don’t let these leaves pile up for too long as the grass will suffer and it will encourage moss to grow.
2. SHRUBS could do with a pruning to encourage more compact growth next year. Remember not to prune spring flowering shrubs at this time of the year. Attractive winter flowering shrubs are just beginning to produce buds. Viburnum, Skimmia, Mahonia and winter heathers are useful in adding to any shrub bed to provide a touch of colour during the dark winter months. Over the next few months it will be a good time for planting up hedges using bare rooted planting material so make preparations now if you are thinking of planting new hedges or replacing some that still haven’t recovered properly from the bad winters of a few years ago.
3. TREES should be checked over now to see if they need supporting for the winter and remove any damaged branches that may have been torn in the recent winds.
4. WINDOW BOXES and PATIO CONTAINERS can be planted up with a wide range of winter flowering plants like, Pansy, Cyclamen, Pansy, Viola, Primrose and under planted with spring flowering bulbs that will give your containers a new lease of life in February through to April. Dwarf conifers, trailing ivy, silver leaved plants and the berried Gaulthera can all be added to any arrangement for added contrast.
5. The VEGE garden and FRUIT gardens all begin to take a ‘time out’ now ! Keep them clean, free of weeds and free of decaying vegetation. Cover with well-rotted manure or seaweed to help keep weeds under control and to add nourishment for next season.
6. WEEDS on driveways or cobbled areas should be treated with an application of Roundup. This will knock back any of the late emerging weeds which have kept on growing with the milder autumn we have just had.
7. GARDEN FURNITURE should be put inside the shed or covered over to prevent them from suffering through the constant wetness of the winter. This way they will last much longer and will be nice and dry for treating in the spring.
8. CHRISTMAS HOUSE PLANTS are available now and will add colour to your home over the holiday period. Poinsettias have become the seasonal favourite but can suffer if not given plenty of warmth. Azalea, Solanum, Hyacinth, Xmas Cactus, Orchids and Cyclamen can take cooler room conditions and are more tolerant to fluctuating temperatures. Use any of these plants individually in baskets or bowls or use in combination with other green plants like ferns, conifers, ivy.. etc to make your own living arrangement.
9. CHRITMAS TREES will be in full swing by the end of the month. Noble and Nordmund Fir have taken over completely from the prickly Christmas trees of years ago. These new varieties have softer, bluish/grey/green needles which will stay on the branches well into January.
10. LIGHTS and DECORATIONS are also available out in the Garden Centre, so come along and see what we have in our Christmas shop at Willowfield while you are out getting your tree. We also have a good selection of battery lights for those hard to reach areas inside and out that you would like to light up. Plenty of gardening gift ideas as well.
So, until next month when it will really be Christmas, Happy Gardening ! Hoe ! Hoe ! Hoe !