Garden | A Winter Guide

Keeping the garden healthy this November

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Sunday, November 08 2020

A garden is not like a picture hanging on the wall; it is never static and it will constantly evolve and change over time

Beth Chatto

Feeling the chill

The role of the garden and our role in it shift constantly throughout the year, and winter is no exception.

The leaves have desaturated into dulled bronzes and toasted sepia, falling gracefully, sometimes playfully in the wind and marking a page-turn into the season. The garden is redressing itself – something it’ll do just fine without intervention – but a nudge in the right direction will pay dividends throughout the season and beyond.

Strategically planning a move or two ahead can ensure momentum, reduce our workload in the spring, and guarantee a kaleidoscope of colour in the warmer months.

This month we’re wrapping up and getting outside to do our bit, and here is our garden hit list for November.

Protect your planters

Our lemon trees have enjoyed healthy growth this summer, but as it dampens and cools we’ve been bringing them in for the night, and now they’ll stay indoors until late April next year when we’ll reverse the process. As you bring your non-hardy plants indoors to protect them, make sure they’re pest free by using an organic pesticide like Neem oil, or simply sponge a little soapy water on their shoots and leaves daily for a few days.

The fuchsias survive the winter outside and as a half-hardy variety, however a little assistance is required. We try to get the most out of single-use materials such as bubble wrap which is widely used throughout the garden, including as a root protector for our Fuchsias where we’ll wrap a few layers tightly around the planter and fix with bulldog clips. We’ll also remove their saucers to stop excess water causing root rot. The more vulnerable half-hardy varieties spend the winter in the summerhouse which is insulated with bubble wrap and secondhand carpet underlay.

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Plant bulbs, tubers and rhizomes

With zero maintenance required, planting underground stems is the perfect winter task to get a head start on your beds next year. We’ve chosen Iris and Nectaroscordums, both perfectly happy to be planted out right into winter in preparation for a beautiful show in May-June.

Feeding the birds

Birds play a vital role in the garden throughout the year, helping to suppress the bug population and eating weed seeds. As they lose their primary sources of sustenance we can guarantee their survival by topping up their diet. Bird tables and hanging feeders should be well stocked with seeds, nuts and fats.

Just like your family Christmas dinner, fighting over the best bits is inevitable, so a selection of feeders with different entrance sizes and pecking holes will ensure that our feathered friend is comfortably full, ready for an afternoon nap in front of the telly.

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