Garden Blog | November
The year is romping away, November has arrived already; it’ll soon be Christmas, as they say. However, before you consider searching for the tinsel and baubles to decorate your tree, there are a few little tasks that require attention in the garden.
The first task is to simply stand back and admire the exquisite autumn colours that are utterly glorious this year. The extraordinary weather experienced here in Britain over the last twelve months has resulted in conditions more akin to a continental climate than the maritime climate we usually experience, the upshot being the trees of Jolly Old England looking more like New England.
Having stood back and enjoyed the view, it’s now time to get down to organising the garden in preparation for winter. Herbaceous plants that have died back can be cut down to the ground level now and their remains put on the compost heap. Having cut back your herbaceous plants, annual weeds that may have been hiding out amongst the foliage will be exposed, and can be removed too. If they have not gone to seed they are quite safe to join the compost heap. Lightly pricking over the soil surface with a border fork afterwards will leave your borders looking spick and span.
As mentioned in previous blogs, tulips are the last of the bulbs to require planting, and November is the ideal time to get on with it. In the garden they should be planted at least twice the depth of the bulb itself, and a couple of inches apart. Tulips in pots for the garden are a great way of adding colour early on in the year, and being in pots means that they can be moved about at will depending on where the fancy takes you. When planting in pots it’s possible to get a very showy display by planting a number of layers of bulbs, making for a more concentrated display. By planting different varieties together that flower at the same time you’ll create an even more eye catching show. In our pots here at Deene Park we have planted three different varieties per pot, each variety forming a different layer, with a couple of inches of compost at the base of the pot and between each layer of bulbs, topped off with a layer twice the depth of the tulip bulbs as with garden plantings. Any good general purpose compost is suitable for the job. Ensure that you water well when planted up, and place the pots in a sheltered spot outdoors. If you have a problem with squirrels, it is worth covering the pots with mesh to keep the pesky blighters from digging up and undoing your hard work.
Our new rose garden is starting to come on now. We have lifted turf to highlight where the paths will be, in readiness for contractors to define them with steel edging and lay a hardcore base. The roses for this project are already on order, so when the paths and edges are in place we can remove the turf and prepare the ground where rose beds are to be, before planting out bare rooted roses during the winter. The paths will later be finished off with a bonded gravel surface, and the beds planted with lavender borders and herbaceous under-planting.
In the glasshouse we are taking cuttings from heliotropes that had been used in pots and urns around the garden over summer. When they had been removed from their summer homes in September they didn’t have any suitable cutting material on them, so we pruned them back, potted them up, and grew them on in our glasshouse. Now we have been able to take plenty of cutting, ensuring a great display of heliotropes for next year. Other plants from our pots and urns that were struck from cutting in September are growing on nicely, are now in their final pots, and will be nurtured until they can be planted out into our summer displays next May.
There’s never a quiet time of year in the garden.