November in the garden

Each season is so distinct, yet so very special, offering us various gifts and opportunities until the moment has passed and the next season arrives with its offerings.  November might seem like a quiet period in the garden, but this month offers us the valuable chance to move any plants that aren’t growing well, or indeed any that have grown rather too well and have now outgrown their current situation.

I am often asked by folks who keenly ordered spring flowering bulbs, and then forget to plant them, if they have missed the boat – should they delay planting until next autumn?  No, you haven’t missed the boat at all, at least not yet, though if you forget again you might do!  Better late than never as they say – for your bulbs will not keep to be planted next autumn.  If you haven’t already planted your Camassia, Allium, Crocus, Narcissus, Tulip, Lilies, Hyacinth and other spring flowering bulbs, whether you’re planting directly in the ground, or in containers, do plant your bulbs now, or as soon as you can.

Daffodil bulbs ready for planting.
Daffodil bulbs ready for planting.
Plant daffodil bulbs in autumn, to enjoy their beautiful flowers next spring.
Plant daffodil bulbs in autumn, to enjoy their beautiful flowers next spring.

Bare root plants are field grown, the plants are lifted and dispatched to customers whilst they are dormant – this is weather dependent, but it’s usually from November until March. Bare root plants are far more economical to purchase than container grown plants.  Roses, trees, fruit trees, raspberry canes, strawberries, as well as bushes, such as gooseberries and currants, are offered for sale as bare root plants – look out for these plants at your local nursery or garden centre, in mail order catalogues, or online.

Avoid moving plants, or planting in waterlogged soil or frozen ground.  Do remember to soak the roots of your bare root plants prior to planting – fill a bucket, or receptacle that’s large enough to contain your plant’s roots (I’ve used empty bins before!), pop your plants in, fill the container with water and leave overnight.

Mycorrhizal fungi are naturally found in our soils.  For over five hundred million years, these organisms have been connecting with plants.  Together they form symbiotic relationships – the fungi effectively work in partnership with the plant, to create a stronger, wider reaching root system.  This enhanced root system helps the plant to withstand periods of drought and stress, and allows quicker establishment after planting.

You can purchase a concentrated amount of these beneficial, UK grown, fungi at nurseries and garden centres.  Mycorrhizal fungi are ideal to use whether you’re planting bare root plants, container-grown plants, or moving plants within your garden.  A gel form of Mycorrhizal fungi are available for bare root plants, whilst there are also selections of Mycorrhizal fungi formulated for container grown plants, roses, bulbs, lawns and more.

If you are planning to light a bonfire, thoroughly check your bonfire stack, before lighting, to spare any hedgehogs.  The easiest method is to gather your materials, checking as you go, then light your bonfire immediately.  But if you have already sited your bonfire stack, but have yet to light it, your bonfire will appear the perfect hibernating spot for hedgehogs, who may have already moved in. In this instance, it’s best to move your bonfire to a new site, and then light it. It may take extra time and effort, but it is worth it to know you haven’t killed a hedgehog!

This article was first published in the November 2016 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.

Other articles that may interest you……………

To read the results of my 2017 Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.

For information on how you can encourage hedgehogs into your garden, please click here.

For information about Christmas and Kew 2016 and visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens in December, please click here.

For information on growing Sweet Peas, please click here.

To read the results of my 2015 Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.

To read the results of my 2016 Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.

For information on reputable suppliers of daffodil bulbs, please click here.

To read about terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.

To read the first part of my Miniature Orchid Trial – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir Terrarium, please click here.

To read about growing delicious mushrooms indoors, please click here.

To read about growing sweetcorn shoots indoors, please click here.

If you’re looking for some special Christmas gift ideas, please click here.

For information on buying live, growing, potted Christmas trees, please click here.

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