November Tips & Advice
This month is the start of the gardeners new
year. Leaves will have finally fallen and most plants will have become dormant. It is the best time to make a new start, to rectify the mistakes of the past season or to try something new!
Whilst the glories of summer have long past there should still be lots of interest in your garden. Look out for the bright berries of the Firethorn (Pyracantha), Cotoneaster or the colourful evergreen foliage of the various Holly (Ilex) varieties. Remember however that only the female hollies carry the berries and you do need a male somewhere in the near vicinity to pollinate them.
The various colourful barks of the Dogwoods (Cornus) will also brighten up the winter. Look out for C. alba ‘sibirica’ with brilliant red stems and C. sanquinea ‘Winter Beauty’. This is a more compact variety with orange-red shoots giving a fireside effect. To get the best out of these shrubs they should be hard pruned in spring every other year.
One of the Rowans (Sorbus) will also provide an excellent small tree for your garden. S. hupehensis is particularly suitable with its sugar pink berries which hang well into the winter.
It is also the season for bonfires and getting rid of all the previous seasons rubbish. Do take care when having a bonfire and make sure that there are no hedgehogs or other animals buried inside about to take their winter hibernation.
Leaves should never be burnt – instead, why not make some leaf mold out of them. This is a superb medium to use when planting and is very easy to make. Simply fill black bin liners with the leaves, pressing them down firmly. When they are full, tie the tops and puncture the sides with a garden fork to allow excess moisture to escape. Then, hide them away in a corner for a year or two.
Compost heaps can do wonders for any garden so give your plants a treat.
Everybody generates kitchen waste and every garden produces waste plant matter - so why not create a compost heap to make use of it all? If you've a small garden you may not have the space or inclination to create a compost heap (they can be somewhat unsightly) but there are plenty of containers you can buy 'off the shelf' at your local garden centre or nursery. These will help produce the heat needed to rot down vegetable waste, and will also save money as you will have your own source of planting compost and mulch. Chicken wire stretched around fence posts works well.
What's is perfect for the compost? All cooked, unprocessed kitchen waste (except meat) can be used, as can most vegetative garden waste.
A developing (or maturing) compost heap needs to receive plenty of air throughout, so make sure you mix kitchen waste or grass clippings which have a high moisture such as straw, leaves or shredded twigs. Avoid putting seeded or perennial weeds on compost heap.
This is an ideal time to move many trees and shrubs into new positions and to plant new ones so that they become established before the winter really sets in. When planting, avoid planting too deeply. With trees and shrubs, plant about 10mm (1/2 in) deeper than the pot surface and, with bare root trees, only up to the ‘Nursery Mark’. This is the line of soil on the stem which signifies the previous planting depth. Firm them in well using your heel and not the souls of your boots. This will ensure that there are no air pockets around the roots which can lead to rot and the plant moving around in the wind.