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Garden Ideas for November


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Looking for ideas for what to do in the garden in November? Well, look no further as we have compiled a list of garden jobs to keep you busy throughout the month.

How to Protect Containers


While the tops of container plants may be quite hardy the roots are vulnerable to frost. Here are some easy steps you can take to protect them in cold weather.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 1 out of 5 and you will need: Bubble-wrap, String, Newspaper, Plastic-bag

Step One:

Tie a double layer of bubble-wrap polythene around the pot to give a layer of insulation against several degrees of frost.

Step 1 of 4How to Protect Containers

Step Two:

For more protection stand the container in a plastic bag...

Step 2 of 4How to Protect Containers

Step Three:

...and fill with crumpled newspaper to create a thick insulating layer...

Step 3 of 4How to Protect Containers

Step Four:

...tie the top loosely with string or a platic tie. Keep the plastic off the leaves as it can freeze to them causing cell damage. Never cover the plant with plastic.

Step 4 of 4How to Protect Containers

How to take Hardwood Cuttings


If you want to increase your stock of shrubs for your own garden or to share, hardwood cuttings are easy to take and require no heat to root. They are ideal for many hardy shrubs.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Secateurs, Fork, Watering Can

Step One:

Using one year old wood of pencil thickness cut just above and below a bud or pair of buds to give a cutting of about 15cm long.

Step 1 of 4How to take Hardwood Cuttings

Step Two:

In a sheltered part of the garden make a row of holes in the soil using a garden fork.

Step 2 of 4How to take Hardwood Cuttings

Step Three:

Place the cuttings in the holes making sure not to bury them.

Step 3 of 4How to take Hardwood Cuttings

Step Four:

Water well to settle the soil back into the holes around the cuttings. Leave them undisturbed for 12 months after which they should have rooted and can be lifted to move elsewhere.

Step 4 of 4How to take Hardwood Cuttings

How to keep Containers Well-Drained


If your containers get too wet during the winter months the roots of your plant may suffocate and rot. Fortunately there are a number of things you can do to prevent this form happening.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 1 out of 5 and you will need: Pot-feet, Stone

Step One:

The most obvious sign that there is a problem with drainage is water collecting at the surface of the compost.

Step 1 of 4How to keep Containers Well-Drained

Step Two:

The first thing to do is to lay the pot on its side to drain as much of the excess water as possible.

Step 2 of 4How to keep Containers Well-Drained

Step Three:

To prevent it happening again you can use 'pot feet' to raise your container to improve airflow and drainage.

Step 3 of 4How to keep Containers Well-Drained

Step Four:

Elevate the container at an angle by placing a stone (or similar) under one side of the base to aid drainage.

Step 4 of 4How to keep Containers Well-Drained

How to Make a Bird Feeder


In the winter months the birds in your garden can find it difficult to find enough food. You can help them by putting out a bird feeder and if you make it yourself it won't even cost you anything.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Plastic bottle, Scissors, Marker Pen, Thin Cane, Wire, Gravel, Bird Seed

Step One:

Take a standard 2L drink bottle and mark out and cut circular holes about a third of the way up from the base. Make sure there are no sharp edges.

Step 1 of 4How to Make a Bird Feeder

Step Two:

Just below the holes make two small holes and push a cane through the bottle to act as a perch.

Step 2 of 4How to Make a Bird Feeder

Step Three:

Feed a wire through the screw cap so that you can hang the feeder in your garden.

Step 3 of 4How to Make a Bird Feeder

Step Four:

To give the feeder some stability you can put gravel in the base. Finally, put food up to the level of the circular holes and hang in your garden.

Step 4 of 4How to Make a Bird Feeder

How to Protect a Climber


Walls offer shelter to climbers and shrubs trained against them but sometimes it helps to add a little extra protection.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 4 out of 5 and you will need: Drill

Step One:

Drill the wall above the area you wish to protect and insert cup hooks to hang the fleece. Make sure to avoid any electrical wires and use extreme care when using ladders and power tools.

Step 1 of 4How to Protect a Climber

Step Two:

Staple over the top and bottom of the piece of fleece to create hems through which canes can be inserted.

Step 2 of 4How to Protect a Climber

Step Three:

Thread canes through through the fleece at the top and bottom. These will keep the fleece flat and help weigh it down.

Step 3 of 4How to Protect a Climber

Step Four:

Suspend the cane at the top of the of the fleece through the cup hooks on the wall and drape the cover carefully over the plant.

Step 4 of 4How to Protect a Climber

How to protect bulbs in the garden


It can be very annoying when you plant bulbs in the garden ready for spring colour and then they never appear. You may not even see the culprit, but both mice and squirrels love the food value of healthy bulbs and will eat through the lot if they can.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Aquatic pot, spade or trowel, soap, grater

Step One:

An aquatic basket pot is a simple way to help protect your bulbs. Part-fill it with garden soil.

Step 1 of 4How to protect bulbs in the garden

Step Two:

Place the bulbs inside. The more bulbs you wish to protect, the larger the pot will have to be.

Step 2 of 4How to protect bulbs in the garden

Step Three:

Fill the pot to the rim with soil and then sink it into the ground where you have dug the hole for soil. For extra protection, lay a piece of 2-3cm chicken wire across the pot and turn the edges down over the rim.

Step 3 of 4How to protect bulbs in the garden

Step Four:

Cover the pot with soil. As an extra deterrent, you can grate scented soap over the top, but this needs replacing every week as the scent wears off. Plastic pots do not biodegrade, so this will need lifting in 2-3 years to divide the clump of bulbs.

Step 4 of 4How to protect bulbs in the garden

How to control Leaf Mould


Fallen leaves provide a plentifull source of nutrients for your garden. Collecting them from the lawn also prevents damage to the grass.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Rake, Plastic Bag, Compost Activator, Watering Can, Gloves

Step One:

Use a spring-tined rake to gather all the leaves together in a heap.

Step 1 of 4How to control Leaf Mould

Step Two:

Place the collected leaves in a sturdy plastic bag. You can use an old compost bag turned black side out to absorb the sunlight and heat the cotents to speed decomposition.

Step 2 of 4How to control Leaf Mould

Step Three:

If you wish you can water the contents of the bag with a compost activator solution. Fold the top of the bag over and stand it in a sunny spot.

Step 3 of 4How to control Leaf Mould

Step Four:

Leave the bag for 12 months at which point the leaves should have broken into a rich, nutritious compost that you can spread on your borders.

Step 4 of 4How to control Leaf Mould

How to Plant a Fruit Bush


There’s nothing like the taste of fruit fresh from the garden and growing it is easy. Whether you choose blackcurrant, red or white currant, gooseberry or blueberry (if you have acidic soil), the key to success is to give the plant a good start.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 3 out of 5 and you will need: Fruit bush, Spade, Fork, Cane, Fertiliser, Watering Can

Step One:

Choose a spot that is at least partly sunny and well-drained. Dig a hole large enough for the rootball with a little extra round the sides.

Step 1 of 4How to Plant a Fruit Bush

Step Two:

Use a short cane laid across the surface to make sure the hole is deep enough. Normally you would aim to have the collar of the plant (where the roots meet the stem) at surface level, but currants will shoot from the base if they are planted slightly deeper.

Step 2 of 4How to Plant a Fruit Bush

Step Three:

Fill the hole around the roots with soil, making sure you do not knock off any buds.

Step 3 of 4How to Plant a Fruit Bush

Step Four:

Tread the soil firmly around the base of the plant with your heel to reduce the chance of the plant rocking in windy conditions (which breaks new roots as they form). A gentle tug on the stem will prove whether it is firm enough. Lightly fork a dressing of fertiliser around the plant and water well to settle the soil and wash the food down into the rooting zone.

Step 4 of 4How to Plant a Fruit Bush

How to plant a Fruit Tree


Fruit always tastes best when picked fresh from the tree and a good tree will be productive for a long time. To get the best results, choose one that is an appropriate size for your garden and plant it well to give it a really good start.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 3 out of 5 and you will need: Fruit tree, Spade, Fork, Cane, Stake, Hammer, Tree tie, Fertiliser

Step One:

Fruit trees are grafted plants: the desired variety is joined to a rootstock that will control the size. If you look closely, you will be able to see the graft union (where the plants were joined) on the stem. It is important that you do not bury this union or you may get unwanted shoots from the rootstock (suckers). A short cane laid across the soil surface will show if the hole is deep enough.

Step 1 of 4How to plant a Fruit Tree

Step Two:

Once the hole is ready, drive a short wooden stake into the base next to the tree. Position the tree close to the stake.

Step 2 of 4How to plant a Fruit Tree

Step Three:

Refill the hole with soil and firm it with your heel around the base of the tree. Add a dressing of fertiliser and fork it lightly into the soil surface. Water well to settle the soil and wash the food down towards the root zone.

Step 3 of 4How to plant a Fruit Tree

Step Four:

Support the tree with the stake using a rubber tree-tie, making sure you have the loop round the tree and the fastening against the stake. This will need checking and loosening as the tree grows.

Step 4 of 4How to plant a Fruit Tree

How to Pot Amaryllis


Hippeastrum, known as Amaryllis, are widely known for their gloriously colourful, trumpet-shaped flowers (often 4 or 5 on a single stem). They are so reliable that they are often sold as gifts in the run-up to Christmas. To get the best results, just take a little care as you plant.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 1 out of 5 and you will need: Amaryllis bulb, Compost, Pot, Watering Can

Step One:

Choose a clean, healthy bulb with no signs of rot and no squashy, soft parts. Remove any loose roots.

Step 1 of 4How to Pot Amaryllis

Step Two:

Spread the roots out as you add bulb or multipurpose compost around the bulb in a pot, as in this cut-away.

Step 2 of 4How to Pot Amaryllis

Step Three:

Water gently to settle the compost around the roots, adding more if there are low spots as the water drains.

Step 3 of 4How to Pot Amaryllis

Step Four:

This is a bulb that enjoys heat and light, so the top half of the bulb should sit above the surface level of the compost.

Step 4 of 4How to Pot Amaryllis

How to clean your pots


No matter how fastidious you are with your plants, there will be a residue of pests and/or diseases in your pots at the end of the season. Many of these come equipped with protective mechanisms that allow them to survive the winter and rise to infect your plants next year. Cleaning everything ready to make a fresh start in spring is time-consuming, but worth the effort.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 1 out of 5 and you will need: Large container, Disinfectant/Sterilant, Waterproof gloves

Step One:

Use a stiff-bristled brush to get rid of all the loose compost and debris.

Step 1 of 4How to clean your pots

Step Two:

Add a measure of disinfectant or sterilant to a large container of clean water.

Step 2 of 4How to clean your pots

Step Three:

Submerge the pot in the water and leave to soak for several hours.

Step 3 of 4How to clean your pots

Step Four:

Smaller pots can be done as a batch. When you take the pots out of the water, turn them upside down and leave to drain and dry. Then you can pack them away under cover until you need them.

Step 4 of 4How to clean your pots

How to plant through weed-suppressing membrane


If you want to make your garden less work, then one place to start is by using weed-suppressing membrane over the borders. This fabric is porous, so water can pass down through it to plant roots, but is dense enough to stop weeds growing up.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Weed-suppressing membrane, knife, trowel, mulch

Step One:

Ideally, this is best laid over a bare border before you start planting. Overlap the edges if you use more than one strip.

Step 1 of 4How to plant through weed-suppressing membrane

Step Two:

Cut an X with a sharp knife where you want to plant and peel back the flaps to dig the planting hole.

Step 2 of 4How to plant through weed-suppressing membrane

Step Three:

Position the plant and fill in the hole, firming the plant into place. Fold the flaps of fabric back over the soil around the plant.

Step 3 of 4How to plant through weed-suppressing membrane

Step Four:

Disguise the fabric (and help it last longer) with a deep layer of mulch, like bark or gravel. This also helps reduce moisture loss in summer. Leave a small saucer-shaped depression immediately around the plant stem so it cannot be damaged.

Step 4 of 4How to plant through weed-suppressing membrane

How to plant a bare-root rose


There are two schools of thought about rose planting, regarding whether or not the graft union should be buried. Here we show you planting with the graft above ground. This reduces the chance of rot occurring at this point or the scion forming roots. See What is Grafting? in our Gardening Basics section.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Spade, cane, rose, fork, fertiliser

Step One:

Dig a hole large enough for the root system of your new plant, including room to spread the roots out.

Step 1 of 4How to plant a bare-root rose

Step Two:

Use a short cane to work out how deep the hole should be. If the graft union is not obvious, then leave the very upper part of the brown root system above ground level.

Step 2 of 4How to plant a bare-root rose

Step Three:

Fill in the hole around the roots and firm around the plant with your heel. This stops the plant rocking in the wind, which would break off new roots as they began to grow out into the surrounding soil.

Step 3 of 4How to plant a bare-root rose

Step Four:

Add a measure of general fertiliser around the plant, fork it lightly into the soil and water well. This settles the soil around the roots and washes fertiliser sown towards the rooting zone. Cut any ties, but leave labels in place.

Step 4 of 4How to plant a bare-root rose

How to: New orchids from old


Moth orchids (Phaelenopsis) vary slightly in their flowering habit. Some produce another batch of flower buds at the tip of the current flowering stem, while others produce side shoots from lower down the stem, especially if you cut the stem back. Occasionally, instead of flower buds, a miniature plant is produced, known as a Keiki (Hawaiian for baby).

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Secateurs, pot, orchid compost, plastic bag, rubber band.

Step One:

If your plant does not produce more buds at the tip of the flowering shoot, trim it back to just above the top stem bud.

Step 1 of 4How to: New orchids from old

Step Two:

Instead of a flowering shoot, you may get a new plant forming, known as a Keiki.

Step 2 of 4How to: New orchids from old

Step Three:

Once this has grown roots, it can be removed from the parent plant. Take a short section of stem with it, as this helps anchor it into a pot of compost.

Step 3 of 4How to: New orchids from old

Step Four:

Pot it into moist orchid compost and cover with a plastic bag, held in place with a rubber band to keep it humid while it establishes. Within a few weeks, it should begin to grow and can be treated the same as other orchids.

Step 4 of 4How to: New orchids from old

How to: Maintenance Pruning


On ornamental plants (not fruit) there are a few basic reasons why you should prune, best remembered as the 4 Ds: Dead, Dying, Damaged and Diseased. Next, remove crossing or rubbing branches, any that have reverted to green and for shape.

The difficulty rating for this garden job is 2 out of 5 and you will need: Secateurs, pruning saw

Step One:

Dead wood is easiest to see and remove in summer. Cut back to healthy, pale-coloured wood.

Step 1 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

Step Two:

Die-back is common after early pruning where a rogue frost can catch you out. Cut back to just above a healthy bud.

Step 2 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

Step Three:

Larger dead stems should be removed with a pruning saw, working very carefully so you do not damage nearby shoots.

Step 3 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

Step Four:

Green shoots on a variegated plant should be removed, as they contain more chlorophyll and are stronger. If left, they will take over and you will lose the variegation.

Step 4 of 4How to: Maintenance Pruning

We hope these projects have given you a few ideas and a bit of inspiration for what to do in your garden this month.

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