There’s a chill in the air and Winter is fast approaching. It’s time to prepare our gardens for the season ahead! Here’s Andrew’s top tips for your garden this month:
Cut back and mulch Perennials
Perennial plants will have seen better days, so cut stems to just above the ground and apply a mulch around the base of the plant, protecting the roots and suppressing weeds. These plants can also be lifted, divided and replanted, increasing your flower stock for next year.
Plant spring bulbs and tulips
November’s a good time to plant tulip bulbs, whether in the ground, pots or containers. Avoid any that show signs of decay or damage, and plant three times to the depth of the bulb. If the soil is heavy, add grit for drainage as bulbs don’t like to sit in water.
Shop and plant winter flowering plants
Why wait until spring for colour, when you can have it throughout winter? Here at Singletons, we have a wide range of winter pansies, polyanthus and primroses. Consider planting these outside your windows, beside pathways, or just outside your door so you can easily appreciate your floral displays throughout the season. Hanging baskets, window boxes and patio pots are ideal for showcasing these winter blooms.
Remove fallen leaves from around the base of any rose bushes which suffered from blackspot or rust this summer, to reduce the chance of reinfection next year.
Add well-rotted matter to empty vegetable beds
If your veg beds are lying empty over winter, cover them over with well-rotted organic matter. During the colder months it will breakdown, releasing valuable nutrients which will improve fertility and soil structure.
Lift crops carefully
A hard frost improves the flavour of parsnips, swede and Brussels sprouts, as it converts their starches into sugars. If you are lifting these on a cold day, make sure you do it with a hand fork, carefully prising them from the soil.
Apply glue bands to fruit trees
It’s a good idea to wrap glue bands around the base of fruit trees for protection. Pests, such as the winter moth caterpillar, will be looking for shelter, laying their eggs and eating fresh tree shoots.
Tend to your berries and currants
Autumn-fruiting raspberry canes can be cut down to just above the soil line, whilst strawberry beds can be tidied by cutting away old foliage and removing runners and weeds. Gooseberry, blackcurrant and red currant bushes can also be pruned. This will help with ventilation and prevent pests and diseases. Now is an ideal time to replenish any soft fruit bushes in the garden, maybe try new varieties, to improve flavour or extend the season. We have a good range of soft fruit in the garden centre at the moment, maybe it’s time to try something new?
Prune apple and pear trees anytime between now and February. Don’t prune your plum trees now as they will be susceptible to the silver leaf fungus – wait until midsummer. Cut any leaders by a third, and remove any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other, to reduce chances of diseases affecting the trees.
Prepare your lawn
Cut your lawn for the final time, making sure that the blades are set higher than normal, rake any leaves or moss that is sitting on the lawn. Add the fallen leaves and moss to the compost heap to make mulch for later on next year.
Get wildlife ready for winter
Finally, give garden wildlife a helping hand by filling bird feeders and leaving a fresh water supply. Try building insect hotels by drilling holes in old logs, or leave a corner of the garden wild, allowing creatures somewhere to rest over winter.