November Gardening Tips 2023
I was looking out onto a rather blustery car park at our Twickenham garden centre as I began to write this, but the view was salvaged by the most wonderful autumn colour coming from the trees planted there. The Maple family has so much to offer this time of year (and in fact all year round) but at the moment their leaves are changing to orange, yellow and every shade of red. Look no further than Acer Skeeters Brook and Orange dream. We have a detailed guide to growing Acers in the advice section of our website [link] If you have space for something larger, Liquid amber is everything its name suggests and more. Some Sorbus and Malus varieties also offer some superb autumn colour.
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is only for the brave. You can almost watch it growing, such is its prolific nature. But if you have the space to fill, it will reward you with spectacular autumn colour.
Cotoneaster, Cotinus, Callicarpa and Gaultheria are all good autumn shrubs. Try Gaultheria Big Berry which, as the name suggests, boasts larger than normal berries which it holds for several months. Rosa rugosa is great for hips while Pieris, Skimmia and a host of heathers also prove that the autumn can be one of the brightest and best seasons in the garden.
I make no apology for mentioning trees and shrubs at such length because this is undoubtedly the best time to plant them, and all other hardy plants. There is still time to plant spring flowering bulbs, particularly tulips. You can also plant sweet pea seeds now in modules or pots, in a frost free place to plant out in the spring.
The wet and windy weather we experienced in October really serves as a reminder to secure climbers to their supports, to stake plants that may be vulnerable to wind and to cut back bush roses to limit damage caused by wind rock. Why not have a go at propagating your own roses from hardwood cuttings, using the prunings. That really is sustainable gardening! In fact most deciduous shrubs, climbers, fruit and trees can be propagated from a healthy shoot of this year’s growth.
Do sweep up fallen leaves from lawns and borders. They make fabulous compost when added to summer grass mowings, garden clippings and kitchen peelings. Use as a soil conditioner once well rotted down. We are great fans of homemade compost. It is so important to give back to the soil and promote all the wonderful microorganisms that live there by adding rich organic matter. Your borders will be enriched and your plants healthier for it. Again, it is sustainable and free.
If you have a vegetable patch, this is the traditional time to dig over the vegetable patch and incorporate well-rotted organic matter, such as homemade compost or composted stable manure.
The last cut of the lawn approaches. Set the blades high for the final cuts. Longer grass will withstand the winter better. Then give your mower a good clean removing any grass before storing it. You may want to think about getting your mower serviced over the winter too.