Head of Horticulture Thomas Broom-Hughes offers 10 gardening tips for November...
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In November we begin to put the garden in order for winter. Clearing the last of the fallen leaves, planting tulips and composting the last remnants of summer from the borders. It is also a time to start afresh in the garden, review horticultural successes and failures, and plan for the next gardening year before our heads are filled with festive season.
Here are my top ten gardening jobs for November:
Dahlias and other tender bulbs should be dug up and stored in a cool, dark area after first frost.
The ground should be cool enough to plant tulips over the next few weeks. Try to avoid planting after a heavy frost or in waterlogged areas of the garden.
Winter heating dries the air out in your home. Help your house plants survive by misting them or placing the pots on a pebble filled tray of water to ensure adequate humidity and moisture. Avoid placing larger houseplants directly on tiles where underfloor heating is present, as this will cause them to dry out considerably.
Clean and oil your garden tools for winter storage. Place some sand and some oil in a large bucket, then slide your garden tools in and out of the sand. This will do an excellent job of cleaning them, as well as applying a light coat of oil to prevent rusting. Clean any empty pots that have been hanging around in the garden before storing them in the shed over winter.
Pot up some prepared flowering bulbs for indoor colour and scent during the winter. Store the pots in a cool, dark place, until new growth emerges from the soil and then move them to a bright window. Hyacinths, amaryllis and narcissus are easy to grow and make a fun rainy-day planting project for children.
It's time to fill your bird feeders for winter. Ensure that they are kept clean and well stocked over the coming months to encourage repeat visits from garden birds.
There is still time to lift and divide your herbaceous perennials provided the soil isn't waterlogged or frozen.
You can start to prune your apple trees and pear trees as soon as they become dormant. Leave plum and cherry trees until next summer as winter pruning leaves them susceptible to disease, such as silver leaf.
Protect your half-hardy plants such as Gunnera and Dicksonia (Tree Fern) by packing the crown straw and securing it in place with a layer of horticultural fleece or hessian sacks. Alternatively bring your plants into a greenhouse or conservatory if you have the space.
Gather the last remaining blooms from the garden earlier in the month (if you haven't had a visit from Jack Frost!). Prune back chrysanthemums almost to the ground after blooming.
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