Gardening in November: A Month of Preparation and Preservation in East Herts and Suffolk

November is a unique month in the garden. It’s a time of transition, as the fiery colors of autumn fade and the frosty embrace of winter draws near. But even as the days shorten and temperatures dip, there is still much to do in the garden. By planting spring bulbs, winter-flowering plants, and hardy vegetables, and by protecting your brassicas and feeding your birds, you can ensure that your garden remains vibrant and productive throughout the winter months.

Planting Spring Bulbs and Tulips

November is the prime time to plant spring bulbs and tulips. These bulbs will lie dormant throughout the winter, then burst into bloom in the spring, adding a touch of color and joy to your garden. When choosing a spot to plant your bulbs, be sure to select a well-drained area. Tulips, in particular, prefer a later planting to reduce the risk of tulip fire, a fungal disease.

Winter-Flowering Plants

To keep your garden from looking drab and colorless in the winter, consider planting winter-flowering plants. Pansies, violas, and cyclamen offer splashes of color, while shrubs like Mahonia and Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ reveal fragrant blooms even in the coldest weather. These plants are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also provide much-needed nectar for winter-active pollinators.

Hardy Vegetables

While many vegetables go dormant in the winter, there are still a number of hardy varieties that can thrive in the cold weather. Kale, Brussels sprouts, and leeks are all excellent choices for winter gardening. November is also an ideal time to plant garlic and shallots. These crops will slowly establish over the winter, rewarding you with a bountiful harvest next year.

Protecting Brassicas with Netting

Brassicas, such as cabbage and broccoli, are a favorite target of pigeons and cabbage white butterflies. To protect your brassicas from these pests, cover them with netting. Be sure to secure the netting tightly and lift it above the plants to prevent birds from reaching through.

Filling Bird Feeders

As the natural food supply dwindles in the winter, birds rely more heavily on garden feeders. Keeping your feeders filled with seeds, nuts, and fat balls is a great way to support your local wildlife. It will also bring a delightful chorus and flurry of wings to your garden. Be sure to provide a source of water as well, as it can be just as vital as food during frosty periods.

November Gardening

November is not a time of dormancy in the garden. It’s a period of preparation and preservation, of planting promises for spring and nurturing the persistent life that endures winter’s onset. Each task, from bulbs to bird feeders, weaves resilience and beauty into the garden’s winter fabric, ensuring it remains a place of life and color, even in the coldest months.

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