"Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness: close bosom friend of the maturing sun."
Ode to Autumn - John Keats 1795-1821.
November is a frustrating month for gardening - so many jobs to do but so little daylight and so much adverse weather!
On a good day there is a short window after the dew and dampness have gone to get on with the jobs in hand, so forward planning is needed to prioritise the most important jobs, such as clearing the paths, borders and lawns from leaves brought down by the strong winds and rain.
1. Having cleared up the leaves and put them to compost the next job is the greenhouse particularly on a wet day. If you still have tomatoes producing fruit continue to water sparingly and perhaps add a little feed but do make sure to clean the windows to ensure that sufficient light is getting through the glass.
2. If you have apple trees no doubt you will have picked all the fruit by now and laid them down in boxes covering each layer with newspaper. It is important to check them once a week to remove the rotten ones and turn others if necessary. Apples should last well into the New Year if stored this way.
The health-giving benefits of apples should not be underestimated - adding them to soups or cook a warm stewed apple compote to eat on a cold day. For some years now I have taken a daily dose of Apple Cider Vinegar, which has kept me free from colds and similar viruses.
3. Turning to the winter look of the garden, dead hydrangea heads should be left on until the Spring. As well as protecting the new shoots the heads provide an interesting architectural structure although those with the deepest of colours can be picked and put in a vase for inside decoration.
4. If you visit a garden centre or nursery on a grey day keep a look out for some late Autumn bright flowering shrubs such as Coronilla Glauca which is flowering now and a couple of other times of the year. Apart from the delicate yellow flowers there is a lovely scent and you can even break off flowering branches and put them in a vase in your home. They are wonderful for self seeding and if you plant a couple of bushes now, by next Spring you could well have several new seedlings that will grow quickly. These pictures are from the Heritage Garden, taken on 30 October.
4. Early winter vegetables such as some broccoli and cauliflower can be harvested and by sowing peas and beans now you can benefit from an early summer crop in late May. Cloches and polytunnels are essential to protect from frosts. If you have Kale (one of the most nutritious of vegetables) start with cutting a few leaves from the crown of the plant which will encourage side shoots to grow with more leaves to be picked from February to May. If your vegetable plot is looking somewhat bare and you have grown Chard allow it to bolt and wonderful colours of red and yellow foliage will result brightening up the drab outlook.
5. November is the perfect time to plant roses - one reason being the availability of bare root plants, which can often be bought considerably cheaper than the price of container roses. Dig a large hole, fill with compost and some blood, fish and bone mix but keep clear of the bare roots. If you have any questions regarding roses email them to email@example.com for the attention of our rose expert! Our bare root Roses for this season will be available the start of November.
6. Finally the dark nights can be cheered up by the strategic placement of solar lighting. Take a look at our Solar Garden Lights Collection. Even on a dull day in Winter they will produce a reasonable amount of light.
Do you have a Christmas Gardening Tip that you would like to share?
Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and the best one will be published in December with the winner receiving a £25 Heritage Gift Voucher.