November is a great month to start thinking about the year ahead – how you want your garden to look, areas for improvement, colour schemes and how to expand on this year’s foray into growing your own fruit and vegetables, or new plant varieties.
It is also a good time to plant trees before the ground gets too hard or frozen.
An avid tree fan is The One Show’s gardening expert, Christine Walkden.
She told The Southern: “Trees to me add movement and grace to any garden situation, raising the eye into the third dimension, with stunning foliage, lovely flowers, great fruit and the ability to attract bird life and insects into the garden. They have a place in all gardens, some being suitable for container growing and for small gardens, whilst others will add much to the greater landscape. We should all be planting more trees.”
Trees can be positioned in wet and dry land and they can tolerate acidic, chalky, sandy and clay soils and come in all shapes and sizes.
From flowering cherries and crab apples to evergreen yews and weeping willows, trees offer different leaf size, shape and colour.
There are those that flower magnificently in spring and those whose leaves offer brilliant autumn colour just before leaf fall. By planting trees you can also reduce or improve your carbon footprint and generally enhance the environment.
Good planting needs good mulch and with more autumn leaves around than a standard compost bin can deal with you have the perfect material to hand. Leaves don’t need the heat of a compost to rot down; you can compost them by filling bags with them to make really good garden mulch. The best way is to fill biodegradable sacks, then place them somewhere in the garden where they will be rained on – and wait. Come spring next year you will have a bag full of nutritious leaf mould compost.
Other jobs you can do this month include cutting back dead foliage, cutting off any diseased or pest-infected shoots on plants, pruning deciduous trees, removing weeds, digging beds over and preparing the greenhouse for winter.
Filling sacks with leaves as part of a general tidy up in the garden is another activity that’s good for this time of year.
l Clear up fallen leaves – especially from lawns, ponds and beds
l Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging
l Plant tulip bulbs for a spring display next year
l Prune roses to prevent wind-rock
l Plant out winter bedding
l Prepare the greenhouse for winter
l Insulate outdoor containers from frost – bubblewrap works well
l Stop winter moth damage to fruit trees using grease bands around the trunks
l Put out bird food to encourage winter birds into the garden
l Use a seasonal bonfire – where this is allowed – to dispose of excess debris unfit for composting. Remember to check for any wildlife before you light the fire.