Here are some seasonal gardening and nature tips for November from local mum and keen gardener, Sarah Clapham.
Sarah’s tips include what to look out for when you are out and about with your children and how you can make the most of November. Enjoy!
In the Garden…
November is the perfect time to plant bare-rooted shrubs and trees. There are trees and shrubs to suit most gardens whether small or large, shady or bright, the RHS website has lots of information as do local garden centres and tree specialists. If space is limited you can train trees against a wall, known as espalier. Apple, pear and cherry are lovely trained as espalier trees and you get the bonus of something to eat!
If you would like some autumn/winter interest in your garden there are many shrubs that add a dash of colour when it’s grey outside e.g. Fatsia japonica with it’s exotic gleaming leaves and white, fluffy flowers or Skimmia japonica with it’s dark green leaves and red berries.
Add some winter ‘bone structure’ to your garden with some box topiary. Evergreens such as Pittosporum can be clipped into a pleasing sphere and come in wide variety of hues from green to dark purple.
Plant bulbs now for a stunning display in the spring. You can plant directly into the ground or into a pot. Daffodils, tulips and allium will all be available in garden centres now, so take your pick!
Sweep up leaves before they rot down and become slippery. If you have space make leaf mould by piling leaves up to rot down over time.
On the veg patch…
Plant garlic cloves for lovely fresh garlic next year.
Harvest leeks and brussels sprouts, cabbages and celeriac.
Plant summer fruiting raspberry canes, gooseberries, currants etc.
Clear away old plants and take down bean supports.
Sow a green manure to protect bare soil. There are many that will grow during the winter, my favourite is Phacelia tanacetifolia.
Add manure to your plot, it can be left on the surface for the worms to incorporate for you! This no-dig method is advocated by Charles Dowding and his books are really interesting.
Prune fruit bushes and trees looking for dead, diseased and damaged branches.
Out and about…
Check for hedgehogs that may have decided to hibernate in your bonfire before lighting it.
Look out for autumn displays of colour from Oak, Beech and Maples.
Birds such as finches, thrushes and tits will be more obvious this month and will thank you for a hanging fat ball studded with seeds to see them through the cold months ahead.
Access to fresh water to drink and bath in is also necessary during winter. Set up a nest box filled with wool or hay to give birds a safe, warm home.
In hedgerows you may see old mans beard, a fluffy seedhead.
You may hear robins, wrens and song thrushes on milder days, a welcome sound during the shorter days.