Winter is definitely arriving, night time frosts, and all this rain! For those of you with clay soils this is really the time to stay indoors and plan what else you can do! Enjoy looking at seed catalogues and think about what you can grow next year. Perhaps clean and sharpen your tools. Also time to look at your garden and think about whether you have room for a lovely autumnal coloured shrub or tree. Euonymous , or spindle, are small shrubs and have wonderful autumn colour. (see photo)
After the talk at the Gardening Society on growing chillies in October, I am definitely going to get hold of some chilli seeds that are not too hot. This year I grew Chilli Apache, buying plants from the garden centre. However they were too hot for us, and they were prolific, so I have given a lot away to friends who like the heat! and I have a jar of dried chillies, dried in the oven overnight, now I can just use a tiny bit rather than a whole chilli!
Jobs to do in November
-If you haven't already done so, bring in all tender plants such as dahlias, cannas and salvias. Cut back all the dying and dropping material in the borders. Store the dahlias in a dry frost free place but check they don't dry out to much.
-Plant Tulips, between now and December, make sure they have good drainage, and add grit or sand to the planting hole. If you have really clayey soil, planting them in large pots is a good idea.
- If the ground is dry enough( will it ever be again I ask!) mulch the borders after doing any tulip planting.
-Gather leaves to make leaf mould, either by putting in a cage made from chicken wire, or in black plastic bags with holes in. Make sure the leaves are moist.
-Feed the birds- if you are doing this make sure it is regular and of good calorific value,seeds, nuts and fat are best of all. A tip from Monty Don :to make sure that sure that all the food does not get gobbled up by pigeons,and starlings, or jackdaws in my garden, is to find an old log with lots of cracks and crevices and pour seed over it. The smaller birds will extract every last bit from the fissures that bigger ones cannot reach.
-It is the time to take hardwood cuttings, they are easy to take, fruit bushes, roses, any flowering shrub or tree are ideal for this method of propagation. Unlike growing plants from seed, cuttings always 'come true' – in other words are exactly like the parent plant so it is the best way of reproducing favourite plants as well as being almost totally trouble free and needing no extra equipment or shelter.
-Now is the time to give your mower a good once-over before putting them away for the winter, rather than wait til spring when it is a really busy time!