As we felt the first flushes of frost this week, many of us are groaning as our Indian summer has finally come to an end and weeks of icy roads, grit and chilblains are upon us. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as although the roads maybe full of the white stuff, our gardens can still bring us oodles of pleasure providing we wrap up warm and take a steaming mug of cocoa with us!
There’s a reason the garden centres are open all year round, aside from Christmas and New year, garden centres will brave the cold understanding that although the summer horticulturists among us may have lost a little interest, the more dedicated of green fingered folk will still be coveting their weekly fix in their greenhouses.
No Rest for the Wicked!
With Halloween becoming a memory, there are still a myriad of jobs to do in the November garden, and donning your best gloves, you can make sure your borders bear flowers all winter long. Now is the time to finish off planting your bulbs, for that spectacular spring display. Plant fruit trees in mild weather for fruity delights next harvest, and take advantage of the disco heathers on offer by giving your dark garden some much needed fluorescent light.
Pull up, Protect and Store
It’s also the best time of year for removing dahlias and gladioli. If shrivelled, keep dahlia bulbs in tepid water overnight before storing for the winter. Gladioli bulbs will dry nicely in a shed, and be protected from frosts ready to grow in the spring.
Rejuvenate those Roses
Be relentless with rose bushes in November, a good pruning is necessary for beautiful blooms in April and May. Plant roses bought from garden centres, and soak up the labels and images as you imagine your rose garden.
In the Pink!
Carnations and pinks will plant easily in November, as will cyclamen giving great colour. Be careful not to over water as these plants hate a wet bed!
Alpines really are a treat this time of year, and many flower soon after the snowdrops. Aubrietia gives wonderful displays and we’ve all felt that first flush of spring when we’ve seen the tiny purple flowers cascading down a neighbour’s wall. Saxifrage, although needing careful handling so as not to disturb the delicate roots will provide miniature pink pompoms on a bed of soft green foliage.
If you’re looking for a little outdoor exercise now is the time to construct an alpine garden, with old rocks, soil, and compost, planting the alpines in cracks and crevices, ready for them to awaken in January and stay all the way throughout the year.
This is one job that is often forgotten, yet the trimming of oxygenating plants is a must if you’re not to have a slimy mess the next year. Leave the foliage of reeds and rushes though, as this will give the water some protection during the winter. Be prepared and place a floating log, or tennis ball in the pond in an attempt to stop it freezing over, and protect with a net if you don’t fancy raking out leaves all winter long!