Planting and Pruning
Pot up Amaryllis bulbs for Christmas, these make ideal gifts either planted or in boxes.
Pansies or violas can be used to spruce up existing pots with winter colour, add spring flowering bulbs for added interest.
Plant tulip bulbs now, they generally look better if planted in groups or waves of single colours. Dot red ones amongst existing clumps of blue grape hyacinths or team white ones with later flowering varieties of yellow daffodils.
Make sure your rockery has enough grit around the surface, this will help drainage and stop the plants rotting over winter.
Plant new season rose bushes now, we will have our bare rooted containerised stock available from November onwards, with many of your favourites.
Fruit and ornamental trees, fruit bushes such as raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries and hedging plants like hawthorn, beech or hazel also benefit from being planted now.
Also lift and divide large clumps of rhubarb.
Remove the foliage of any perennials or annuals that have died down.
Give all your garden plants a teaspoon full of bone meal, gently sprinkle around the roots and let the rain wash it in, this is an ideal tonic before they hibernate for the winter.
Purchase fleece to protect any larger plants such as camellias, cordylines, olives and some hebes.
Dig over borders and vegetable plots adding organic manure to invigorate the soil, the cold weather will then break down any large clumps for you.
Wash greenhouse glazing to maximise light levels and insulate with bubble polythene to protect your tender plants from the winter chill. If you haven’t already done so give your greenhouse a good clean out, you can fumigate with a sulphur candle but all plants must be removed prior to this.
Clear away the final flurry of fallen leaves making sure that you burn any diseased ones to avoid the problem spreading throughout the garden. Check that all your pots and containers are not sitting in saucers and lift them off the ground to aid circulation and prevent frost damage.
Empty out any pots that are not being used over winter and put away in the garage or garden shed. Make sure all trees and large shrubs have sufficient support and that stakes are decent and not rotten.
Clean and disinfect your bird houses and feeders ready for use. Use high fat content feeds, peanuts and suet treats throughout the coldest months and make sure a fresh supply of drinking water is always available.
Scarify and spike lawns to aid drainage and apply an autumn feed and moss killer if you haven’t already done so.
Avoid walking on your lawns if it is either water logged or frozen.
Fruit and Vegetables
Pick any remaining tomatoes and ripen on the kitchen windowsill, make sure all potatoes are dug up and stored.
Use grease bands around trunks of fruit trees to prevent winter moth damage.
Apple and pear trees can be pruned back thinning out the centre of the tree allowing air to circulate which helps avoid pests and disease. Use a prune and seal compound on any large cuts.
Plant of the Month
Hyacinths: Planted hyacinths bowls or containers are lovely, they have been prepared to encourage them to flower around Christmas and give off a sweet scent in your room. Usually top dressed with either moss or bark nuggets, they make an attractive addition to a window sill or table top. Flower colours vary from white to pink, and red to blue so make your choice.
Tip of the Month
Christmas trees will be available from the end of November, so purchase yours early and keep it outside. This will avoid disappointment come the usual rush… all trees are cut at the same time and are fine left outside in your garden until required indoors. So take my advice and choose your perfect tree early, then when you take the tree indoors cut 2 inches off the main stem and display in a water holding stand keeping it healthy and fresh.