November is normally the season for mists, fogs and diminishing daylight. So what does the weather have in store for us this month?
After a very mild October, these exceptionally high temperatures should last at least the first week of November, but keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared to protect the tender plants in case of frost.
Nature falls into decay and dies out. The leaves quickly change color and fall to the ground. Birds and animals eat as much as they can to gain weight, building up fat reserves to get through the winter. Squirrels burying hordes of nuts. Bats and hedgehogs looking for a place to hibernate, as well as butterflies, moths and ladybugs. It is the month of transition to the garden and the countryside before winter. Annual plants wilt and die, others simply “die”.
Work to do :
Winter protection for all tender plants, banana trees, canna lilies, tender geraniums, pelargoniums, begonias, orchids… To put in greenhouse or veranda. Plants in pots too big to take away move to a sheltered spot and round them up.
For plants left in situ, wire cages around the plant stem and then filled with straw work very well. Horticultural fleece is an essential part of plant protection. See the RHS article on overwintering plants for more information.
New Rose Seasons. The nation’s favorite plant. So versatile, ground cover, hedge, bush, climber, hiker and above all a rose must be fragrant! The range of colors available at specialty nurseries is amazing. Bare root plants are always excellent value, often living over 20 years!
Planted now you will get good root growth before Christmas. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to plant them.
Fruit trees of the new season:
Apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, cherries, walnuts, blackberries, etc. and all fruit bushes – raspberries, loganberries, blueberries, gooseberries, black, red, white currants, etc. are all in garden centres, but the best range comes from specialist nurseries or buy online if you are looking for unusual varieties.
Fall is the best time to plant spring bulbs, giving them the winter months to root themselves in preparation for a spectacular display next spring. Take a look at these dazzling Dutch bulbs straight from the Netherlands that we tested this year.
Don’t forget to plant spring bulbs that have been put away or forgotten! Even if you only put them in pots. Use your own garden soil or John Innes no2.
This is the perfect time to create a wildlife hedge, which will give you more interest throughout the year, instead of a boring hedge of evergreens or just laurels. A mixture of Sloe, Hawthorn, Field Maple, Rosa rugosa, Hazelnut, Holly, Dogwood, Hornbeam, Viburnum opulus, etc. will give you flowers, berries and fall colors. It will also provide security in the form of a thorny hedge, nectar and pollen for insects, food for birds, and a safe place for nesting birds! It’s a multiple winner.
Vegetables and fruits:
A good storage, clean out any old vegetation – zucchini, rhubarb leaves, green beans… Compost non-diseased plants.
Fallen or rotting fruit apples can be left on the ground for wildlife to enjoy. Winter migrants like Fieldfare, Redwing, Blackbird will love you for it! Butterflies, insects, voles, even badgers, deer and foxes will eat the fruit. As it breaks down, it also nourishes the roots of fruit trees.
Place grease strips or fruit tree grease around trunks of apples and pears to stop winter/apple moth damage next year. Make the stake or the cane too!
Protect salads, spinach with bells. Crisp brassica plants – Cabbages, cauliflower, spring greens, kale and wood pigeon Brussels sprouts.
The now fairly rough dug land will only need to be leveled and raked next spring. The frosts will break up the lumps. Trenches for runner beans, pole beans or sweet peas can be dug and filled with newspaper, manure and compost ready for next year as well.
Do not dig if your soil is very wet. Stay away. It ruins the soil structure, compacting and depriving the soil of oxygen, turning it into a smelly mud!
If you don’t want to dig, cover your garden with compost and let the worms do it for you.
Fauna of the garden:
Fall may have been mild, but as soon as the temperatures drop, wildlife garden visitors will be looking for places to set up hibernation. Hedgehogs, birds, amphibians and insects all need a helping hand, and here are some of the things you could do to give them the best chance of survival during the colder months.
Whatever the weather plan for next year. Get the seed catalogs or go online and do some armchair gardening!
Peter has spent his life gardening, working in garden centers and advising on all aspects of gardening, wildlife and biodiversity in horticulture. He ran the Clandon Park Garden Center in Surrey at the age of 23 and was a radio presenter on gardening at the BBC. This continued for 15 years, showing live broadcasts of flower shows from Chelsea and Hampton Court, shows from the South of England and County Surrey. Now self-employed, Peter works on a wide variety of gardens, from private individuals to large estates, and also focuses on advising and advising his fellow gardeners. He works with the RHS Gardening Advice team at Chelsea, Hampton Court, Wisley Flower Shows and is an external RHS gardening adviser.