November sneaked in and I actually had to check my calendar a few times to calculate how much time we have left to plant our bulk of spring bulbs and plants. We are talking about 10.000 spring bulbs and around the same amount of spring bedding plants which were raised here in the restored glasshouse. The wet conditions make it a challenge, so as soon as it dries up we will get out and plant like there is no tomorrow!
The wet days are used to pot on all the tender plants which we have to take out in order to make room for the spring bedding. We try to over winter as many plants as possible in our two glasshouses which is a challenge in itself. If not ventilated regularly greenflies can creep in and careful watering is essential, especially with plants like Coleus and Iresine. We raised them from plugs to a good size this year and it would be a shame to lose them.
We also potted on some summer bedding like Antirrhinum for a later seed harvest; the seeds were not ripe yet by the time they were taken out.
Our subtropical border is still showing a lot of lush green plants like Melianthus or Beschorneria that will survive strong winters in our region when wrapped up, even so they both originate from more tropical countries.
We started to cut back saplings of ash, the ever occurring brambles and other invasive undergrowth in our woodland. The idea is to open up the woodland and to help smaller newly planted trees like oak and beech to grow without competition. It looks nice at the moment with all the leaves nearly gone and the sun shining trough.
It must be a really good year for mushrooms; I think I mentioned it in one of my earlier diaries already. They pop up everywhere and I just spotted a fly amanita (Amanita muscaria). You would not see many of them around here, not like in Germany where I used to go on a ‘mushroom hunt’ every autumn. Now, I would not have picked this type of mushroom since it is very poisonous but they look quite amazing.
Especially in the winter month the scale of our garden is more noticeable. The now leafless espalier fruit trees don’t hide the walls anymore and the 800 meters of Scottish red brick are fully visible and make it even more impressive looking, due to the well skilled craftsmanship of times past.
Our crabapples have a good crop once again and the birds, mainly Trushes, started to pick the small reddish coloured apples. They need to build up their winter reserves, so we won’t stop them. I always would recommend leaving the cutting back of perennials, which bear seed heads for a bit later so the birds can get their share.
We have a new staff member in the garden; he has lovely shiny black fur, is only six month old and very hungry. ‘Ricky’ has to find his place beside our granny cat ‘Gadaphi’. The sixteen year old lady does not like much company!
One of the winter projects we are planning to do is the updating and labeling of our trees within the garden walls and the surrounding garden area. I started to label the two ancient conifers just outside the garden entrance; many visitors enquired about the Monterey Pine and Monterey Cypress in the past.
Please find below my usual garden tips for the month of November.
Best wishes from
Your Head Gardener
Things you can do in your garden in November:
To Sow / Propagate:
~ Dig up last of tender plants and pot on, water sparely, check for greenflies regularly
~ Sow Garlic outside if you have a suitable spot or indoor in modules;
(In Kylemore we sow Garlic only in March, it would rot in the ground during the wet winters we have)
~ Sow seeds of berried shrubs like holly or skimmia
~ Lift and divide roots of rhubarb (with at least one bud on) and replant 90 cm apart
~ Take hardwood cuttings of currants and gooseberries
~ Continue planting spring bedding and bulbs, might need slug control
~ Plant roses
~ Plant fruit trees if ground is not frozen
~ Root vegetables; when stored in sand they will last the whole winter
~ Last of Pears
~ Take out tuberous begonias, let them die back and store the tubers in sand over winter (Don’t cover the tops fully)
To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Keep deadheading late summer flowering plants (Leave seed heads for birds)
~ Earth up more tender plants
~ Rake leaves of lawns and put them on leaf compost
~ Wrap taps for the cold winter month
~ Check staking of trees
~ Feed newly planted rhubarb with well rotted manure (dig into soil before planting)