“There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight” – Gertrude Jekyll
November can often be one of the wettest months of the year, but with the most random display of weather that we’ve had throughout 2018 us gardeners need to take every opportunity this month to get outside into the garden. So on that note, I’m going to talk to you about planting at this time of year – what you can plant and some tips to help you. Hopefully it will give you a few ideas about how you can add some colour and interest to your own ‘spot of ground’, and brighten up your garden in an otherwise dull time of the year.
One of the most instant ways to add colour is to plant up in containers. Ensure that you include perennial varieties that will come into flower at different times throughout late autumn, into winter and last until spring (Cyclamen, Pansies, Violas, Helleborous, and variegated grasses are just a few examples). This will save you time as you are only planting up once, and also money as you are not replacing spent bedding plants (unless you enjoy the change and want a different show of plants of course). There are endless combinations, far too many to suggest here, so take time to visit your local garden centre and see what’s available, or seek advice from the nursery staff.
Here’s a few tips to help you when planting up containers. Pay attention to good drainage – use pieces of broken pots or large stones in the bottom of your container, raise it off the ground using pot feet (or similar) to allow water to drain away, and pack out with plants as much as possible to take up all the space, leaving no room for the container to become waterlogged.
If you are looking for an explosion of colour in Spring then how about using your containers for planting bulbs instead? (or you could get very technical and put in the bulbs before over planting with perennials). I have some tulips saved from last year (still in the pots I raised them in) ready to bring out again once they get going, but I also left the ones I put into the ground to come up again. November is the best time to plant Tulips and Hyacinth bulbs, but don’t despair if you haven’t planted anything yet as you can still pop in your Daffodils, Snowdrops, Fritillaries, Alliums and Crocus, these may just flower later than you would expect in the spring. As long as the ground is not frozen you can plant bulbs right through into December.
My first tip for bulb planting in beds and borders is to label where you have put them, to avoid disturbing them before they start to appear above ground. Plant in multiples of odd numbers (usually 3 or 5 bulbs per hole) and at the correct depth (3 x the bulb height – so if the bulb is 2cm, dig a total depth of 6cm).
If you are thinking about having trees and shrubs for the garden next year, now is the time to be putting in bare root plants. The advantage of buying them like this is that they tend to be cheaper than container grown, there is usually a better choice of varieties available, they are easier to transport and can be purchased through mail order. Fruit such as raspberries and blackberries can go in now. Remember to place your support canes in before the plant, to remove the risk of damaging the roots. As with all tree and shrub planting, ensure that each plant is placed with enough room to grow to its full size.
Happy Gardening Everyone!