Welcome to your one-stop resource for gardening in November. If you always feel like you don’t have enough time for gardening, or just need some guidance on what to focus on each month, this is the series for you!
You can check out my garden jobs for every other month in this post.
Gardening in November
This month, my garden seems to have finally accepted that it’s autumn, and started the process of shutting down in earnest. In terms of garden jobs, this change creates a gradual shift of focus towards tidying up, protecting, and preparing for winter. The plants may be taking a break, but it’s certainly not a quiet month in the garden!
Here are some ideas for ideal jobs to tackle if you’re gardening in November.
Plant winter bedding
If your garden is looking a bit bare, bedding plants are brilliant for an instant lift. You don’t have to tackle the whole garden; go for areas that you can see from indoors, or plant up containers and position them somewhere that you walk past regularly, like the front door.
Pansies, violas, cyclamen, ivy and heather are all great plants for an autumn-into-winter display. Garden centres, DIY stores and supermarkets usually have a good range on offer. For lots more plant ideas, check out my posts on fall flowers for pots, winter plants for pots and plants for winter hanging baskets.
Deal with the big leaf drop
Gardening in November inevitably involves dealing with fallen leaves. Stay on top of them now, and you’ll avoid piles of slippery gunk later.
Use a *rake to clear leaves from your lawn, and sweep them away from paths and patios regularly. You can put all those leaves to good use by making leaf mould – it’s a brilliant mulch for your plants, it’s really easy to do, and it doesn’t have to take up much space in the garden.
Add mulch to borders
Once you’ve dealt with leaves, it’s a good time to add some mulch to your garden borders. Mulch will help to control weeds, and also provide some protection for plant roots during winter. Manure, leaf mould, spent compost and *bark chips all make great mulch.
If the weather is mild, your lawn is probably still growing. Continue to cut it, but raise your lawnmower blades to help the grass stay healthy in lower light levels.
This is also a great time of year to aerate your lawn. Use a *garden fork to make holes in the lawn at regular intervals, this will help to avoid waterlogging and compaction over winter.
Finally, if your borders are less full you will probably notice your lawn edges looking a bit messy. You can recut them with a *lawn edger to smarten things up.
Divide summer flowering perennials
If you’ve got perennial plants that have grown quite big, autumn is a good time to divide them. Doing this will give them a new lease of life, and increase your stock of plants too.
Summer flowering perennials such as crocosmia, geranium, hosta, pulmonaria and euphorbia can be divided in autumn. Make sure they have finished flowering before you start digging though. Dividing plants is a quick and easy job, my free plants post shows you how to do it.
Raise containers off the ground
If you haven’t already done it, lift your containers off the ground this month. Leaving containers on the ground makes them more likely to get waterlogged, and most plants hate sitting in cold water over winter.
You can raise pots off the ground using bricks or *pot feet, to help excess water drain away. Putting them on a wall works too – just make sure it’s in a sheltered position, and that the pots won’t get blown off in windy weather.
Protect tender plants
It’s very tempting to leave your tender plants unprotected if the weather is still mild. But we’re definitely into frost season now, and temperatures can drop quite suddenly in the garden. This is the classic time when you can get caught out.
If you haven’t moved your tender plants to a sheltered spot or a greenhouse yet, don’t hang around. My post on winter plant protection covers doing this in more detail.
Look after local wildlife
We’re now into the toughest months of the year for wild birds and other garden wildlife, so now is a great time to garden for wildlife to give them a helping hand.
Provide *bird seed (or make your own bird feeders) and a *bird bath, and top them up regularly. You can also leave an area of the garden intact rather than cutting down dead plants. This will provide seedheads for birds to feed on, and fallen stems for small mammals, frogs, toads and insects to shelter in.
Cover garden furniture
If your garden furniture stays outdoors all year round, protecting it over winter will help to prevent damage and extend it’s life.
You can buy waterproof covers in a wide range of sizes to suit your furniture. An alternative option is to use a strong sheet of *tarpaulin as a cover, and weigh it down with bricks. Whatever method you choose, make sure you check the covers are still in place regularly, and that water isn’t pooling in any areas.
Most perennial plants will have finished flowering and died back by now. You can tidy them up this month by removing dead stems. Don’t be too neat though; remember to leave some dead foliage to provide a shelter for wildlife.
Climbing roses and rambling roses can also be pruned this month. While you’re doing this, tie in any loose stems to prevent wind damage.
If you have any fruit bushes in the garden, now’s the time to prune them while they are dormant. You should also prune autumn-fruiting raspberry canes by cutting them back to ground level.
What to plant in November
Gardening in November isn’t just tidying up and clearing away; there’s still some planting to be done if you feel like growing something. For a full list of flowers, fruit and vegetables you can grow this month, head over to my post on what to plant in November.
I hope the weather is kind and that you manage to tackle all your garden jobs this month – what’s on your to do list?