Tidy borders, cut down herbaceous stems and clear remains of annuals. This is a good time to clear out your greenhouse, oil your tools and throw away anything that is beyond repair. Start preparing your soil for next year, as well as draining and lagging standpipes. This will save you any expense later. So, what other gardening jobs should we be doing in November?
Pick up sweet chestnuts to roast. Don’t confuse them with horse chestnuts (conkers), which are inedible – the ones you want are covered in fine, hedgehog-like spines and the nuts look slightly flattened with a tuft at one end. Make a small slit in the shell before roasting or they might explode!
Most grasses tolerate a little healthy neglect. Unfussy about soil type, most prefer a sunny, well-drained position. In heavier soils, add gravel to the bottom of the planting hole, topping up with compost. Deciduous varieties need their skeletal stems and flowerheads cut back in early spring when new growth appears.
Now’s the time to dig out your perennials and rearrange them. Making sure not to let the roots dry, lift out the perennials and place them on newspaper on the lawn. Then rearrange the plants, mimicking how they’ll be positioned in the border, taking care that taller plants stay near the back. Weed the border as you go and lift any self-sown seedlings, replanting if you wish. Finally, add a layer of mulch, bark or rotted organic matter to feed the soil and suppress weeds.
Mound up a 5cm-high row of soil – this helps drainage and prevents rot. Push each bulb in, root first, leaving the tip visible. Cover with soil, firm down and water. Suspend CDs from canes above them to deter birds.
Place a small mosaic pebble square in front of a garden seat or in an area of gravel or paving. Keep the design simple and use a mixture of brown, grey, black and cream stones or slates, setting them into mortar. Make sure that the finished surface is smooth enough to walk on comfortably.
Foxgloves thrive in damp shady borders. A self-seeding perennial, the spires of flowers return year after year.
Plant a box tree or dwarf conifer in a compost-filled large pot to create a winter showpiece. Plant winter pansies or cyclamen around it and trailing ivy or periwinkles near the edge.
Traditional twisted pines can be kept clipped in smaller plots, or try a mini evergreen conifer.
Keep bamboo canes safe and dry in a garden shed or outbuilding. Use two strips of upholstery webbing to hold them in a bundle and then hang them out of the way on hooks against the wall.
Apple trees will give your garden spring blossom, autumn fruit and a pretty silhouette in the winter.