November in the garden

Winter is coming, leaves are falling and the wind and rain is getting stronger. Protect tender plants from frost and gales. Move plants into the greenhouse or a sheltered spot, if that’s not possible, wrap plants and pots. Winter can be difficult for birds too, so be sure to top up supplies of water and food.


General maintenance

• Repair fences and trellis now they are becoming free of foliage - choose a dry day to treat fences and timber structures with stain or preservative
• Check bonfires carefully before lighting to make sure there are no hibernating hedgehogs sheltering inside them
• Protect large ceramic or delicate glazed pots from frost damage by wrapping them in bubble wrap or moving them into a shed or somewhere undercover during winter
• Wrap insulation material around outdoor taps and pipes; remove pumps and filters from ponds and bubble fountains to avoid damage in freezing weather
• Spread compost from old grow bags and well-composted bins on to outdoor flower beds to fork in over winter

Flowers and shrubs

• Lift, divide and replant congested clumps of perennials, such as asters, campanulas, rudbeckias and chrysanthemums, after flowering and move shrubs that are growing in the wrong place or have outgrown their position
• Plant spring bedding, including wallflowers and forget-me-nots, for a stunning blue and orange spring display among taller tulips and pansies
• With roses, pick leaves affected by rose blackspot and collect any lying on the ground to reduce the risk of disease carrying over to next season - dispose of them in your dustbin not the compost heap; plant bare-rooted roses and new rose bushes in well-prepared soil
• Cut down perennials that you don’t want to keep seeds for; cut down clematis and chrysanthemums to soil level after flowering; deadhead pansies to prevent them self seeding; check variegated shrubs for plain green shoots and prune them away
• Plant heathers and trailing ivy in pots for winter colour
• Pot up tender perennials from summer displays to bring under cover for winter protection
• Move containers of shrubs or winter bedding to a sheltered spot when conditions turn very cold; raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging
• Pile a thick mulch of compost or bark over the soil around dahlias and agapanthus and over the crowns of hardy fuchsias to provide winter protection. Alternatively, lift and store dahlia tubers once their leaves are blackened by frost

Lawn and trees

• Rake lawns regularly to avoid build up of fallen leaves that will kill grass beneath; rake up fallen leaves, or save time by investing in a garden vac, and add to a leaf bin to compost down into leaf-mould
• Mow lawns on dry days with the blades on a high setting; spike lawns then brush grit into the holes to improve surface drainage
• Avoid walking on lawns covered with frost
• Check stakes and ties are secure on trees and climbers
• Plant bare-root trees, bare-root shrubs and hedging