What not to do in your garden in November

by AnneWareham on November 5, 2012

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A new feature for the lazy gardener. This month a response to the (rather desperate, it seems to me) Mirror.

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Apply a bulky organic mulch around the base of trees, shrubs and climbers to keep weeds down and the root area moist should conditions dry out again.

Noooo…. Never put any sort of mulch too close to the base and trunks of trees or shrubs. Want to rot the things??? Get and spread mulch, hooray – the lazy gardener’s friend is mulch – and spread it everywhere else, for sure, but never near the bark of woody things.

And why would you be mulching in the cold and/or wet of November for pity’s sake? Any old time will do to mulch, in spite of a lot of nonsense talked about it.

Fill in gaps in flower borders with small, pot-grown herbaceous perennials. They aren’t expensive at this time of year and if planted now will make an impact in spring.

Don’t do this if you live in the West or Wales: they will almost certainly rot off and waste your time and money.

Regularly brush off toadstools as they appear and before the caps open out fully. This will help to reduce their spread.

Err… off what?? The toads?? What on earth is wrong with toadstools?

Cover outdoor furniture or, if you have space, move it into a sheltered spot to reduce the amount of damage over the next few months.

If you’re daft enough to have outdoor furniture that can’t live outside a sheltered spot won’t help. Rot is the problem again and shelter doesn’t mean dry in this climate…

Fit spiral rabbit guards to protect trunks and stems – rabbits are likely to become a problem in many areas now that temperatures are falling.

If you have rabbits and didn’t do this when you planted the things (whatever they are) you might as well go and dig them up. They’ll already be chomped. Rabbits like to sample the new things you put out for them.

Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of herbaceous perennials. Discard the tired-looking central sections and replant the more vigorous outer portions.

In 25 years I have never done this and my poor so say weary perennials seem quite happy undugup and undivided.

So if not all that, what? Go indoors, light the fire and find a good book to read. November is time off.

Cotoneaster berries, Veddw, copyright Anne Wareham

Sigh.. then some more! Courtesy of Sue Beesley 

She says: rake leaves off lawn

If you are really stuck for something to do. Otherwise wait for the wind to blow them on to the beds where they will be useful mulch, or if you must, mow them up and dump mowings on to said beds for same reason. (Note to Gardener’s World followers – forget leaf mould and bin bags, put leaves straight on to your beds and borders. (no – not that bed, the one outside)

plant bulbs

Far too late for anything but tulips and I wouldn’t stick those in the garden, it being a lot of work for annuals. Tulips in pots are nice and you can do the potting in the warm indoors somewhere.

keep on top of weeds, 

Put piles of leaves on top of them and hope they’ll rot.

mow if need be

See leaves, above..

bring in tender plants if you must have them

Err.. in – where???

Plant bare root trees/shrubs soonish

Avoid buying bare root plants. I’ve never had much joy of them and plants in pots can stay in the pots for a good while if you can’t face the great outdoors. Plants in pots don’t ever need heeling in!

But mostly, dig out and burn/compost anything you really don’t like any more. #toptip

Leave your spade hanging up and try a little squirt of Roundup in the spring, when the sun shines and you’d like a lazy wander round the garden shooting things, weeds or boring plants you’re fed up with.

Back to the fire and the book…… (try this one? The Bad Tempered Gardener)

XXXXXXX Anne Wareham

Grasses at Veddw. Copyright Anne Wareham

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