Gardening Jobs to do in November
Winter months are (surprise!) all about roses!
Prune all rose bushes from now at any time through the winter. If the plants are tall and untidy, reduce the height now without necessarily doing the whole prune. They need to be cut down to prevent them rocking in the soil during the November winds which would create spaces where frost could damage the roots. You can finish the pruning at any time during dry frost free weather up until March.
Cut out the dead wood and clip the rose bushes into good shapes. Cut the healthy wood just above an outward facing shoot to encourage healthy growth and an open shape. Prune out branches which cross to prevent them from rubbing, and keep the centre of the rose as open as possible to prevent diseases. The same applies to soft fruit bushes.
Bare root roses are available from November onwards. Plant them now while they are dormant, their roots will settle in the relatively warm soil and they will take off in the Spring.
Plant new shrubs and continue to lift, split and replant perennials. Cut away the foliage of herbaceous perennials as it dies to prevent the plant from rotting beneath, and protect delphinium crowns and agapanthus from slugs and frost with a thick mulch of compost. Lift dahlia tubers, wait for the surface moisture to dry and store in hessian sacks in a frost free place.
Continue to plant bulbs for a spring show. Leave tulips as late as you can so the squirrels won't eat them when you're not looking! Plant bare rooted wallflowers as soon as possible in the warm autumn soil for masses of vibrant early spring colour and scent.
Rake leaves into piles, bag them or pile them into open bins, mine are made with three lightweight wooden pallets with one open side, to make your own leaf mould. The cellulose in leaves will take about two years to break down, so don't mix with other matter which will compost quicker. There is very little nutrition in leaf mould, but it is a wonderful growing medium, and will improve the quality of any type of soil.
Clean the greenhouse, if you haven't already done so! Change the soil, and wash the windows with a weak bleach solution; easy with a mop bucket and a soft broom. With a new bucket of bleach, wash and rinse used flowerpots and trays, sort them into sizes and you'll be ready for next year.
Pick late-ripening apples, tug gently on the apple and if it yields it is ready. Store them in a cool dark place on racks.
Cut fruit bearing raspberry canes down to the ground, and secure the new canes to wires to protect them from the November winds. Autumn fruiting raspberries are still abundant, so pick them now to make delicious autumn jam.
Protect winter greens from pigeons with netting. Make simple bird scarers with empty plastic bottles rattling upturned on low canes, or string old cds together along a line; shining and sparkling they make good bird deterents. Pigeons like to fly in on a flight path, so the lines should help to interrupt their descent.
On dry days continue to dig over the vegetable garden, the frosts will help to break the soil down further, and as ever mulch with manure.
Don't forget hedgehogs are starting to hibernate now, so if you have bonfires, build and burn them quickly. Here, if we can't, I insist they are moved before burning, although have never yet found a sleeping hedgehog to rescue. Angel still has to share her cat food with her very bossy friend.