November in the garden is all about protecting, planting and dodging the bad weather!
The 30th October brought the first snowfall of the season to Le Jardin Perdu, which meant that this year, top of our list for November gardening jobs was a big tidy up! The heavy snowfall, following months of dry, hot weather sadly caught most plants unawares. Still in leaf and flower they paid the price with stems and branches broken everywhere.
Happily the cold and snow was a blip that lasted only a couple of days. So with warm temperatures restored, here are our top November gardening jobs.
To lift Dahlias, or not to lift Dahlias: that is the question!
For us it’s a definite lift them! Our winters can be very cold, wet and snowy and we’ve never had Dahlias survive in the ground. Once your Dahlias have finished flowering, carefully dig them up taking care not to damage the tubers. Stems then need to be trimmed down to about 15cm and all surplus soil removed. Before storing the tubers ensure that they are thoroughly dried. The best way to do this is to let them hang in a dry place for about week. The tubers can then be stored in either moist, fresh compost or sand and left to overwinter in a cool, frost-free place.
Cover delicate plants
Not one of our favourite November gardening jobs, as it signifies the imminent end of the gardening season. If you have any tender plants in your garden though, it is time to either bring them inside, store them in your greenhouse or to wrap them in a snug, protective fleece. For me it’s always a sad time, as it means that I have to put my beloved Gunnera Manicata bed for the winter. If you have a Gunnera in your garden, you can read our earlier blog about how to overwinter them here.
Plant tulip bulbs
This year, in our formal garden, I have gone tulip mad, or more precisely white tulip mad! Planting tulips in November, later than most spring flowering bulbs, is advised as it helps to protect them against disease. Plant the bulbs 15-20cm deep, pointy side up and about 15cm apart.
Gather fallen leaves
At this time of the year, leaves are everywhere, even more so in the middle of the French countryside! It’s best to remove leaves from your lawn as they block out light and prevent moisture escaping from the grass. Not doing so can lead to moss and algae growing. But wait! Don’t simply throw the leaves away, use them to make a fabulous, FREE, organic soil conditioner. Learn how to make leaf mould in our earlier blog.
Harvest the last of your vegetables and fruit
If you haven’t already harvested the last of your beans, squashes and tomatoes, now is the time to do so. Shorter, cooler days means that production will soon come to an end and morning frosts could damage any remaining unpicked fruit and vegetables. Vegetables such as leeks, parsnips, purple sprouting broccoli, shallots, onions and other winter hardy vegetables can be left in place, but be prepared to cover them with a fleece should you have a hard frost forecast.
Plant roses, trees and shrubs
If you need an excuse to go to the garden centre, here’s one for you: November is a great month for planting roses (particularly bare root roses), trees and shrubs. During this month the ground tends not to be neither waterlogged nor too cold. With the plants entering their dormant period, it also means that they will be able to focus all their energy on developing their root systems rather than on producing leaves and flowers. Conclusion: they will produce stronger plants. Need any further excuses?
Leave seedheads in place
In previous months we’ve been saying deadhead, deadhead, deadhead. This month we’re saying leave the seedheads in place! Now that we’ve entered November the flowering period is coming to its end. Rather than cutting back the last of the flowers on perennials such as Rudbeckia, Sedum, Helenium and ornamental grasses, leave them in place. Not only will they add interesting structure to your garden during the winter months, but also garden birds will love to forage for seeds from them.
Keep cleaning and filling bird feeders
With shorter days and cooler nights, it’s important to keep filling and cleaning your bird feeders. For tips on the best food to give to garden birds during the winter months, please read our earlier blog.
We’d love to know what other gardening jobs you’re doing this November, please do leave your comments in the box below.
BUY LE JARDIN PERDU BIRD FEEDERS