I need to apologise for being somewhat quiet of late. I haven’t disappeared; I’ve merely been getting Dan Cooper Backyard in fine condition for the festive season. If you’re hungry for extra, you’ll discover further weblog posts at dancoopergarden.com, together with a characteristic on nerines and an article about defending tender vegetation over winter. And for those who’d like to fulfill me, I’ve listed all of the areas the place I’ll be popping up between now and Christmas. I’ve received a busy schedule, so any help and encouragement can be very welcome!
Final month, I started by reflecting that October might both be wonderful or ghastly. This yr it’s been largely wonderful; a month of unusually delicate, sunny and settled climate with the bonus of enhanced autumn colors due to the lengthy, dry summer time. The upshot is that we will safely push lots of October’s gardening jobs into November (it could be value wanting again at Your Backyard In October to see if there’s something you missed). Nevertheless, it’s not time to hold up your Wellington boots but, since our luck is about to expire.
If there’s a phrase that sums up November, it’s ‘do or die’. This may sound harsh, however the onerous ‘first frost’ that you simply hear gardeners muttering about alerts the demise of all that’s tender and far that’s valuable. You possibly can take of venture for therefore lengthy, however finally you’ll have to act if you wish to save sure vegetation.
There are two teams of actions to concentrate on in November – safety and planting. Alpines, succulents, tender perennials and delicate ferns want shelter to assist them by means of the winter. Don’t put this off past the tip of the month or the primary chilly, moist climate; in any other case, you may count on casualties. Nevertheless, it’s not all doom and gloom. November is the proper time to plant garlic, tulip bulbs and some other spring flowering bulbs you’ve not handled but. Naked-rooted vegetation turn out to be out there from nurseries: you must plant them instantly to forestall the roots from drying out.
December is a busy month for a lot of causes, and I discover it greatest to not have pressing duties hanging over me once I’d fairly have my slippers on in entrance of a roaring fireplace. Gird your loins and put together the backyard for winter so you may have a month off to benefit from the festivities.
In the meantime, sooner or later this month, we’ll be handled to dazzling shows of autumn color. As I kind, the predominant colors are inexperienced and yellow, however as temperatures drop, they’ll turn into oranges, reds, bronzes and browns. Flip your consideration to the wildlife nonetheless lively throughout autumn and winter and supply clear water and meals sources. Even when it’s the primary time you’ve executed so, you’ll be amazed at how rapidly animals discover you!
November at a Look
PLAN what you need to develop subsequent spring and sort out the seed catalogues as they arrive in your letterbox. Take inventory of your gardening gear and make some extent of nudging your family members to interchange something that’s worn out. I do know a terrific place to buy 😉
SOW candy peas, broad beans, peas and rocket.
TAKE CUTTINGS of bushes and shrubs. If you happen to can’t transfer tender perennials, take cuttings of those as insurance coverage in opposition to a lethal chilly snap.
PLANT tulips, bare-rooted shrubs and bushes, rhubarb crowns, garlic, bulbing onions and spring cabbages. Divide perennials and grasp the final alternative to put turf.
PRUNE roses and late-flowering shrubs to forestall wind harm. Begin to assess the construction of fruit bushes, deciding the place they might want pruning. Lower away the previous stems of autumn-fruiting raspberries, blackberries and loganberries.
HARVEST apples, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflowers, celeriac, grapes, kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, land cress, leeks, lettuce, oriental greens, parsley, parsnips, pears, spinach, swedes, candy fennel, turnips, winter cabbages and winter radishes. Acquire seed from flowers and greens you’d like extra of, making certain it’s left to dry totally earlier than storing.
PICK – chrysanthemums, nerines, any remaining dahlias (catch them the day earlier than the primary frost) and stems thick with autumn berries, making certain you allow ample for the birds.
MAKE – sloe gin, jams, chutneys, preserves and pickles. Bag up seeds to offer as items at Christmas.
BUY -pruning instruments,shears, bulb planters, pot ft, heat gardening gloves, new wellies, a protecting gardening apron, candy pea seeds, and garden-themed Christmas ornaments. Sooner or later in November, the value of spring-flowering bulbs can be diminished – hold an eye fixed out for bargains. Order bare-rooted vegetation for speedy supply.
ENJOY the autumn kaleidoscope, responsibly made bonfires and professionally organised firework shows, seeing your breath within the chill air, frosted cobwebs, cosy afternoons within the potting shed, the season’s first sprouts, parsnips, mince pies, and hearty soups constituted of homegrown produce.
VISIT – one of many many gardens and landscapes that mild themselves up throughout winter afternoons and evenings. Illuminations are held at Kew Gardens; RHS Harlow Carr, Bridgewater, Hyde Corridor, Wisley and Rosemoor; Edinburgh Botanics; Bedgebury Pinetum and Westonbirt Arboretum.
Additional Recommendation From Dan Cooper Backyard
With the shortest, coolest days of the yr approaching, houseplants can be rising at a a lot slower price. You need to develop them ‘onerous’, with minimal water and meals, so they continue to be compact and wholesome till spring. Right here’s a handy guide a rough, ten-point plan for the subsequent three months:
Cut back watering, solely giving vegetation a drink when the compost floor turns into dry.
Don’t permit vegetation to face in saucers of water – pour away any extra.
Cease feeding till March.
Maintain vegetation away from chilly drafts, open doorways and sizzling radiators – they detest all of them.
Take away lifeless leaves and flowers however be reassured that some leaf loss is pure.
Maximise the quantity of sunshine vegetation obtain by shifting them nearer to home windows and roof lights.
Mud leaves typically in order that they’re in a position to photosynthesise effectively.
Maintain an eye fixed out for pests that multiply rapidly in a heat setting, equivalent to aphids.
Keep away from shopping for new vegetation. If you happen to can’t resist, don’t permit them to catch a chill on their manner house. By no means purchase houseplants which have been displayed outdoors within the chilly.
Begin cyclamen, amaryllis, hyacinths and daffodils into progress for flowers at Christmas and early within the New Yr.
Potting Shed & Greenhouse
There’s all the time a lot to be executed underneath cowl when the weather fail to oblige.
Take time to wash all of your hand instruments, secateurs, knives, lawnmowers and hedge trimmers. Begin by eradicating dust, grime and plant sap with a stiff brush after which sharpen blades the place applicable. Tighten nuts and bolts which have turn out to be unfastened over the summer time and lubricate shifting components. If you happen to’re not planning to make use of your instruments over winter, coat the metallic components with Camellia oil to forestall corrosion brought on by moisture within the air. All the time retailer instruments dry – hold an previous rag handy for drying them on moist days.
It’s been a classic yr for tomatoes, whether or not you develop them outside or underneath glass, however they may cease ripening naturally sooner or later. Decide any which have reached full dimension and pop them in a field, drawer or paper bag with a banana or different ripe tomatoes. Inside 2-4 days, they’ll have developed color and flavour. Take away the exhausted vines and compost them, having fun with these previous few wafts of tomato scent.
Sow candy peas in deep pots for early flowers subsequent summer time. November is good because the climate is constantly cool, and the seedlings will think about producing roots fairly than shoots. Select pots or root trainers that may keep the course – I discover that cardboard tubes and paper pots disintegrate or develop mould earlier than the climate is delicate sufficient for planting out in spring.
Examine vegetation coming in from the backyard for pests, particularly slugs and snails. These pesky creatures are nonetheless lively and might trigger a lot harm inside the confines of a greenhouse. Take away previous flowers and yellowing leaves to cut back the danger of spreading illnesses.
Begin to choose early autumn sowings of salad leaves together with lettuce, mizuna, mustard and rocket. Pluck the outer leaves, discarding any which have been munched. Go away the centre of the plant to proceed rising over winter.
Drain hoses and irrigation methods, put away backyard furnishings and punctiliously retailer cherished terracotta pots that could be broken by frost.
Terrace & Balcony
As winter approaches, terraces and patios assume an necessary function within the backyard, offering area and construction because the vegetation that blurred them fade again. Grasp the chance of a high-quality day to wash them up. Pale surfaces like sandstone mirror mild into the backyard on darkish days, whereas darkish supplies, together with slate, soak up warmth when the solar shines.
As vegetation shed their leaves, flowers and fruits, algae can develop, making paving slippery and harmful, particularly in shaded areas. The identical applies to muddy paths. Sweep recurrently and select a high-quality day to jet wash easy surfaces – I’m all the time gobsmacked at how a lot grime accumulates all through the summer time. Brushing sharp sand over the floor will act like a scouring pad, eradicating dust and filling any gaps. Crucially, keep away from utilizing chemical substances which may discover their manner into drains and harm surrounding vegetation.
Proceed planting spring-flowering bulbs in containers. Whether or not you plant one selection per pot or use the ‘lasagne methodology’, select shorter, stouter varieties which might be much less more likely to blow over or flop after they bloom. High pots with horticultural grit to discourage pests, forestall moss from rising and provides a neat look.
If you happen to’re not keen on bulbs or desire a extra everlasting show, strive planting a container with skimmia, winter field (Sarcococca), hellebores, heathers and small-leaved ivy. Though not all of the vegetation demand it, my tip could be to make use of peat-free, ericaceous compost and water with rainwater when the compost will get dry.
The wind is your enemy for those who backyard on a balcony. You’ll know greatest the place it strikes and causes probably the most harm. Shield vegetation that stick their heads above the parapet or cut back their top to cease them from getting buffeted. Grouping vegetation carefully collectively will create heat, humidity and shelter. Bamboo or willow screening might help to diffuse robust wind, but it surely’s not in step with the structure of each constructing. If you happen to’re renting, you might want permission earlier than attaching screening to everlasting constructions.
Even when the month begins delicate, flowering vegetation will quickly begin to skinny and recede. In components of Europe and America, the place it will get chilly in a short time, the frozen, skeletal types of desiccated perennials and grasses carry an entire new dimension to the winter backyard. Sadly, our damp local weather signifies that the highest progress of herbaceous vegetation tends to blacken and soften earlier than collapsing like a stupefied tarantula – not such an imposing scene! There are exceptions like teasel and pampas grass; these needs to be left intact as meals and nesting materials sources.
Now’s your ultimate probability to safe the way forward for tender perennials equivalent to bananas, begonias, angel’s trumpets (Brugmansia), cannas, coleus, fuchsias, gingers and pelargoniums. Elevate the vegetation, trim the roots and tidy the higher parts to a manageable dimension. Pot them in recent compost and overwinter them in a frost-free setting. They’ll want good mild and heat if you need them to continue to grow. If that may’t be supplied, bananas, brugmansias, cannas, fuchsias and gingers will cope completely nicely in a frost-free, unlit storage, basement or loft till they begin rising once more in April.
If tender vegetation have turn out to be too massive to maneuver, the very best factor you are able to do is cut back their publicity to the killer mixture of moist and chilly. You are able to do little or no about chilly with out bringing the plant inside, however you may management moist, which incorporates rain, humidity and condensation. Pack the crowns of weak vegetation like tree ferns and bananas with absorbent straw after which wrap them with fleece. Examine recurrently for indicators of rot and take away the wrapping throughout hotter spells to permit air to flow into.
Cowl autumn-sown hardy annuals with cloches in chilly or uncovered gardens.
Offered the bottom shouldn’t be frozen, situations are ripe for dividing clumps of perennials. A Japanese Hori Hori will make mild work of the job, as will a pointy spade.
Chrysanthemums can proceed flowering till Christmas, however they want help and safety from heavy rain. I reduce them as quickly as one or two flower buds have opened on every stem – that manner, they’re not blemished. If you happen to hold the vase water clear and recut the stems each few days, chrysanthemums can final for 2-3 weeks.
After the primary frost, elevate dahlias and gladioli, slicing the stems again to round 5cm. Go away them someplace heat and dry for a few days, and mud any broken tubers or corms with yellow sulphur. Retailer them in open crates or containers coated with previous potting compost, sand or straw – this must be dry however not bone dry. Maintain the crates in a frost-free, darkish place and verify them typically to make sure they’re nonetheless wholesome. In milder components of the UK, you may depart dahlias within the floor, but it surely’s nonetheless clever to cowl them with a deep mulch of previous potting compost, mushroom compost or fallen leaves for insulation.
Bushes, Shrubs & Lawns
Plant bare-rooted bushes and shrubs, together with roses, as quickly as they’re delivered. If you happen to can’t plant instantly, unwrap and plant them collectively in a short lived gap till you’re prepared to search out them a everlasting house (that is referred to as ‘heeling in’).
Shield the bottom of newly-planted bushes and hedges with a easy guard of rolled hen wire. Netting will cease rabbits from nibbling the bark, which might kill younger vegetation. Even for those who don’t have rabbits, a tree guard protects in opposition to strimmers, boots, footballs and pets.
You probably have any bushes supported by stakes, verify the ties are neither too tight nor too unfastened. Too tight and so they might reduce into the bark; too unfastened and so they might be ineffective. Comfortable is what you’re searching for. If you happen to detect that bark is being rubbed away, you might want a softer tie.
Stick with it taking hardwood cuttings of bushes and shrubs. All you want is sections of stem the thickness of a pencil reduce into 20-30cm lengths. Strip away any leaves and plant them in order that two-thirds of the stem is under floor. Be sure you plant them the identical manner up that they had been rising; in any other case, they received’t root. Rising from hardwood cuttings is a protracted sport, and also you received’t have a well-rooted plant for a few yr; nevertheless, for those who’re affected person, it’s an affordable and straightforward manner of filling your backyard or rising items for gardening pals.
With bonfire evening developing, it’s the proper time to collect any lifeless and diseased wooden or leaves to be burned. Make your bonfire and light-weight it on the identical day – don’t burn heaps the place animals might need taken refuge.
New lawns can nonetheless be created by laying turf on ready floor. It’s too late to sow seeds as progress can be sluggish, and birds will feed greedily on the generously provided grass seed.
Conserving established lawns freed from fallen leaves is crucial for his or her well being. Moist grass with no mild and airflow can succumb to a fungus referred to as fusarium, which causes round orange patches to look. Rake leaves recurrently, piling them in mesh baggage or bins to rot down and create leaf mould.
You probably have spring-flowering bulbs planted in grass, make your ultimate reduce brief in order that the bulbs are larger than the turf in spring. That manner, you’ll get a clearer view of the flowers. Don’t take away the foliage of autumn-flowering bulbs equivalent to cyclamen within the course of, as that may cut back flowering subsequent yr.
Kitchen Backyard & Allotment
It’s sport over for summer time crops, and most of your harvest may have been gathered by now. There’s one thing cathartic about clearing beds and releasing area for brand spanking new sowings. It’s like a brand new starting, however not fairly. Judging by the allotments the place we develop, some allotmenteers choose to pack up and hibernate till spring. Nevertheless, with somewhat planning and minimal effort, you may get pleasure from a smattering of crops by means of the winter and be prepared to return sprinting out of the beginning blocks in spring.
Plant bare-rooted fruit bushes and bushes, taking care to not bury them too deep. You received’t see any indicators of life till spring, however then they need to get off to a robust begin. You’ve gotten till late February to get this job executed, however you’ll discover that some nurseries will run out of widespread varieties early within the planting season.
Plant rhubarb crowns in wealthy, moist soil, conserving the rising level degree with the soil floor. I’d advocate leaving the plant to determine for a yr earlier than serving to your self to the stems. If you happen to can’t wait that lengthy, take only some when you’re sure the rhubarb is prospering.
Sow a crop of early broad beans in well-drained soil. In colder areas, defend the rising seedlings with a cloche or sow in pots and hold the younger vegetation in an unheated greenhouse or chilly body. ‘Meteor’ or ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ are good varieties to hunt out.
Plant garlic cloves in well-drained soil and full solar. Area them 15cm aside with their suggestions 5cm under the floor. It’s also possible to plant some types of shallot and onion now. Take care as they develop roots, as they’ll typically propel themselves out of the bottom!
Stake Brussels sprouts, kale and purple sprouting which might be susceptible to rocking within the wind. These brassicas choose to develop in fairly compacted soil, so don’t be afraid to place your boot in on the base to agency them. Cowl vegetation with a taught internet to guard the leaves from hungry pigeons.
If any beds are empty, unfold a thick layer of manure over them now. The worms will get to work instantly, distributing natural matter evenly by means of the soil.
Cured pumpkins and squashes might be saved in a dry, frost-free place till you’re prepared to make use of them. Our report is a ‘Crown Prince’ pumpkin that lasted from one Halloween to the subsequent with out dropping any consuming high quality. How superb is that?
Lower perennial herbs like mint and marjoram again to floor degree. I resist pruning our substantial rosemary bush for a short while as I like to select armfuls for adorning at Christmas. Till final century, rosemary was as a lot a part of Christmas traditions as mistletoe, holly and ivy – it smells higher than any of them!
Lower out the fruited stems of blackberries, loganberries and autumn raspberries. I like to offer them mulch on the identical time. Practice the brand new shoots of brambles right into a excessive arch form to maximise the fruiting size of the stems. Tie them firmly to a supporting construction.
Begin pruning fruit bushes as quickly as their leaves have fallen. Assume first, as a result of you’ve a short while to finish this job. Generally it’s higher to contemplate which branches you want to take away earlier than selecting up your pruning instruments. I like to recommend studying up on the particular fruit kind and tree form as a result of you may’t undo an ill-advised reduce.
Wildlife & Sustainable Backyard
November marks the beginning of the hen feeding season. You’ll discover species which have been absent over the summer time returning to your backyard searching for meals and shelter. Hedgerows and gardens needs to be brimming with seeds and berries, however they’ll rapidly disappear when a flock of hungry birds descends. As soon as nature’s larder is empty, it’s time to mud down your hen desk and hold up your feeders to maintain your feathered pals well-nourished.
Use a fishing internet to clear fallen leaves from ponds. A number of received’t do any hurt, but when there are too many, they may decompose, making a nutrient-rich sludge that may encourage algae and fast weed progress.
It’s time to wash hen containers, feeders and birdbaths totally in readiness for winter. A bucket of sizzling, soapy water and a stiff brush are all you want, though I discover an previous toothbrush helpful for stepping into all of the nooks and crannies.
Convert empty nesting containers into winter roosting websites by clearing previous nests and cleansing them totally. If you happen to really feel beneficiant, present a comfy mattress of sheep’s wool or the seed heads of previous man’s beard.
Mount new nesting containers, positioning them on a tree, wall, fence or constructing that’s a minimum of 1.5m – 2m above floor and past the attain of cats and different predators. Connect roosting pockets to hedges to create momentary winter shelters. Within the UK, the perfect facet for a birdhouse is East, North, North-East or South-East, going through away from the prevailing climate and robust daylight.
Don’t be in an excessive amount of haste to tidy up. Go away seedheads on vegetation to supply meals for birds and small mammals by means of autumn and winter. Fallen leaves give shelter to bugs however gather them from lawns and forestall diseased foliage from rotting close to cultivated vegetation. Hole stems, empty seed pods and stacked logs create the proper refuge for ladybirds. Don’t trim ivy and evergreen hedges, as they’re excellent for roosting birds.
The speed at which materials decomposes will cut back, however you’ll add a lot of materials to your compost heap or bin this month. Take care to layer moist and dry so it doesn’t turn out to be a smelly, soggy mass. In areas with excessive rainfall, cowl open compost heaps with tarpaulin to maintain the contents on the dry aspect, eradicating them sometimes to let air flow into.
I’ve talked about bonfires earlier than, however I’ll point out them once more! Don’t assemble them days or perhaps weeks earlier than burning as animals will take up residence and will perish within the flames. Pictured under is a first-rate instance of a bonfire than might be an animal resort? Or, is it an animal resort that might be a bonfire? If you happen to can’t inform, neither can a hedgehog.
Classes: chrysanthemums, compost, Container gardening, daffodils, Flowers, Foliage, foraging, Vegetation, Sensible Recommendation, Bushes and Shrubs, tulips, Climate