From the garden: Neil’s maintenance tips for November

There’s plenty of crunchy golden leaves on the ground, and thanks to the clock’s changing, the nights are getting colder and darker by the day. This can only mean one thing; winter is well and truly coming, but the hard work isn’t over when it comes to your garden. In fact, you should be giving it extra special care before winter fully sets in!

As we explained last month, you should be attracting birds to your garden to deter pests, and this can be achieved by regularly topping up the bird bath and providing a source of food. However, you should also be cleaning out any bird nesting boxes in your garden as these can harbour mites.

Additionally, although the weather’s colder and there’s more rainfall, it’s still vital that you remember to keep regularly watering any plants that flower over winter, though they shouldn’t be overwatered; balance is key when it comes to watering your plants!

Alongside this, you should also be cleaning out your water butts this month. This ensures they’re ready for autumn and winter’s rain to refill them with a fresh supply of rainwater.

To help you get your garden winter-ready, Neil Gallagher from our grounds maintenance division gives us his run down on the things you’ll need to stay on top of this month…


Tidy your borders

With the winter drawing closer and closer each day, now is the time to tidy your borders before it gets too cold to do so. As a start, you should be regularly removing leaves from your plant borders; leaving them doesn’t just look messy, but they can also cause damage to your plants when many of them will be at their most vulnerable. However, remember to remove any leaves from your borders by hand to ensure minimal damage is caused to any small plants underneath them. 

To keep your borders looking their best in the autumn and winter, you should also be regularly pulling up weeds and clearing any surface moss on soil and paving surfaces. To help the birds, leave spent flowers to overwinter as the dead flowers and seeds provide nutrition/ bedding for wildlife. Also Hydrangea flowers can make great interior displays when used as dried flowers, just simply cut flower stem and place in a dry jar, they make great table displays. Any summer bedding still in flower in your garden such as Geraniums and Begonias put them under cover to overwinter for next year as frost will destroy them. deadheading your herbaceous perennials (such as Geraniums and Delphiniums). Make sure you remove any collapsed stems and dying leaves by snapping them off by hand or cutting them (remove this section in Orange).


Raise your plant containers off the ground

Due to the likely increase in rainfall this month, we’d advise raising plant containers off the ground by placing them on pot ‘feet’, bricks, or any other items that can raise your containers both securely and evenly off the ground. This should be done to aid drainage, which prevents waterlogging.

Raising your plant containers off the ground is also important in November because freezing weather conditions can cause pots to crack. Simply keeping them elevated above rainwater and frost will help to prevent them from absorbing moisture and expanding.


Clean and insulate the greenhouse

With autumn coming to an end shortly, you should have already taken measures to protect your plants from the increasing wind, rain, and frost by moving them to your greenhouse or ensuring they’ve been wrapped in a protective covering. However, if you are yet to complete this task, November’s your last chance to do so, and you’ll need to ensure your greenhouse is prepared.

To kill pests and diseases in your greenhouse (or prevent them from appearing in the first place), we’d advise giving it a throughout clean this month. Remove any plants, use a brush to sweep up any debris, remove dirt that’s trapped between the windowpanes, and clean the floor and any structural parts of the greenhouse with a disinfectant.

After cleaning, make sure you insulate your greenhouse to retain heat before your plants are put back inside. This can be easily achieved by attaching bubble wrap to the frames of the greenhouse.


Plant tulip bulbs 

If you want an impressive and colourful display by spring, you should begin by planting tulip bulbs this month. October and November are the best months to plant tulips because their colder temperatures help to prevent fungal diseases, such as tulip fire. Infected tulips will emerge from the soil with twisted leaves, and they’ll develop brown spots which are susceptible to rot.

When planting tulips by hand, they should be placed at a depth of 8cm or deeper, and individual bulbs should be placed around 8cm apart.