November Gardeners’ Blog

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is aglow with the rich autumn colours of orange, yellow and red as the leaves begin to fall from the trees.

November Gardeners' Blog 2018

Although the sight of fallen leaves on the ground is beautiful to behold, it’s important that they are removed from borders and lawns on a regular basis to prevent the spread of overwintering pests. In addition to this, falling leaves that get caught in ponds can cause problems for the wildlife in there and looks unsightly. We would recommend placing netting over your pond to catch stray leaves.


Don’t waste the leaves though, if you collect them and place them in a compost container, you’ll get high quality leaf litter that can be used as soil conditioner in just 12 months or so.


Now that summer greenhouse crops are over, it’s a good idea to give the greenhouse a thorough clean because this will prevent pests from hibernating and rearing their ugly heads next spring. It’s important to hose down the glass really well to allow for maximum light to be let in throughout autumn and winter.


Once you’ve given the greenhouse a good scrub, line the greenhouse with bubble wrap (available at DIY shops on a large roll) to conserve solar heat during the winter and to reduce heating bills if heated. Put any tender plants you have in there before the frosts hit. You can reduce watering in October and keep any plants that lose their stems to the ground, such as dahlias, dry until April.


In addition to the above, remember that any plants that are outside may need to be brought in at a moments notice due to sudden drops in temperature at this time of year. Not doing this could result in damage to your plants.


Moreover, if we have an early frost this month, lift your dahlias and store them in a frost-free area until it’s time to start them into growth in spring. Reduce the height of shrubs such as buddleia, too, as they may suffer in strong winds.


It’s also likely that your soil, which has worked hard over the spring and summer months, needs to be replenished with goodness, so start digging in compost and as much organic matter as you can to ensure it is in tip-top condition when the growing season starts again.


If you have heavy soil, dig it well to remove large lumps to ensure a fine tilth that’s ready for next year’s sowings. This is particularly important if you have a vegetable patch.


If you’re looking for other jobs to keep your busy over the coming weekends, why not:

  • Cut back perennials that have died down
  • Divide herbaceous perennials
  • Prune climbing roses
  • Finish collecting seeds from the garden to sow next year