Cold and snowy, but the birds are feasting

Preparing for Winter

November gardening is all about maintenance and preparing for the winter months ahead. Although November can be a wet foggy month there will hopefully still be a few decent days in which you can put the garden to bed.

So what needs to be done before winter arrives?

– Remove the last of the annuals and finish planting your winter and spring bedding such as pansies, violas, bellis and primulas. Also complete planting your spring bulbs reading for a dazzling display in just a few months’ time.

– Make sure all tender plants are moved under cover. Any too large to be moved can be wrapped up in fleece, using it as you would a blanket.

– The gardening world still seems to be of divided opinion as to whether or not autumn digging is beneficial but all would agree on not digging for the sake of it. A good layer of compost covering bare soil will soon be dragged down by the worms and the rain.

– Check all plant ties and supports to make sure they are strong but not causing any chaffing. Roses will need a light-ish prune to prevent wind-rock.

Perennials can be tidied but don’t get carried away. Instead be kind to wildlife and leave winter food in the form of seed-heads and shelter in the form of dry-stemmed plants.

– Clean the greenhouse glass, removing any shading. The cleaner the glass the more of the limited winter sunight will reach your plants inside. Also check and clear any gutters and make sure your greenhouse heater is in good working order.

Rake the lawn to remove fallen leaves, thatch and other debris. Now is also a good time to aerate existing lawns and to lay new turf.

– Finish planting any new trees and shrubs before the ground freezes or becomes water-logged. This is also a good time to move trees and shrubs as the soil is still warm enough to help them to re-establish.

– Raise containers off the ground onto plant feet, or simple bricks, as this will prevent water-logging.

– Clean bird feeders in sterilising fluid and repeat this throughout the winter. Make sure food is always available together with fresh clean water. Now is also a good time to site new nest boxes as the birds will use them as roosting places and so get familiar with them before spring.