I need to apologise for being just a little quiet of late. I haven’t disappeared; I’ve merely been getting Dan Cooper Backyard in good condition for the festive season. If you’re hungry for extra, you’ll discover extra weblog posts at dancoopergarden.com, together with a function on nerines and an article about defending tender crops over winter. And for those who’d like to satisfy me, I’ve listed all of the areas the place I’ll be popping up between now and Christmas. I’ve received a busy schedule, so any assist and encouragement can be very welcome!

Final month, I started by reflecting that October may both be wonderful or ghastly. This 12 months it’s been largely wonderful; a month of unusually gentle, sunny and settled climate with the bonus of enhanced autumn colors due to the lengthy, dry summer season. The upshot is that we will safely push lots of October’s gardening jobs into November (it is perhaps price wanting again at Your Backyard In October to see if there’s something you missed). Nonetheless, it’s not time to hold up your Wellington boots but, since our luck is about to expire.

If there’s a phrase that sums up November, it’s ‘do or die’. This may sound harsh, however the onerous ‘first frost’ that you simply hear gardeners muttering about indicators the demise of all that’s tender and far that’s treasured. You’ll be able to take a bet for thus lengthy, however in the end you’ll must act if you wish to save sure crops. 

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Foliage of the maidenhair tree, Ginkgo biloba, turns butter-yellow in autumn

There are two teams of actions to concentrate on in November – safety and planting. Alpines, succulents, tender perennials and delicate ferns want shelter to assist them by means of the winter. Don’t put this off past the tip of the month or the primary chilly, moist climate; in any other case, you’ll be able to count on casualties. Nonetheless, it’s not all doom and gloom. November is the proper time to plant garlic, tulip bulbs and every other spring flowering bulbs you’ve not handled but. Naked-rooted crops turn out to be out there from nurseries: you need to plant them instantly to stop the roots from drying out. 

December is a busy month for a lot of causes, and I discover it greatest to not have pressing duties hanging over me once I’d slightly have my slippers on in entrance of a roaring fireplace. Gird your loins and put together the backyard for winter so you’ll be able to have a month off to benefit from the festivities.

In the meantime, in some unspecified time in the future this month, we’ll be handled to dazzling shows of autumn color. As I kind, the predominant colors are inexperienced and yellow, however as temperatures drop, they’ll turn into oranges, reds, bronzes and browns. Flip your consideration to the wildlife nonetheless energetic throughout autumn and winter and supply clear water and meals sources. Even when it’s the primary time you’ve achieved so, you’ll be amazed at how shortly animals discover you!

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Acers are the celebs of any autumn woodland backyard

November at a Look

PLAN what you wish to develop subsequent spring and deal with the seed catalogues as they arrive in your letterbox. Take inventory of your gardening gear and make some extent of nudging your family members to exchange something that’s worn out. I do know a terrific place to buy 😉

SOW candy peas, broad beans, peas and rocket.

TAKE CUTTINGS of bushes and shrubs. When you can’t transfer tender perennials, take cuttings of those as insurance coverage in opposition to a lethal chilly snap.

PLANT tulips, bare-rooted shrubs and bushes, rhubarb crowns, garlic, bulbing onions and spring cabbages. Divide perennials and grasp the final alternative to put turf.

PRUNE roses and late-flowering shrubs to stop wind harm. Begin to assess the construction of fruit bushes, deciding the place they might want pruning. Minimize away the previous stems of autumn-fruiting raspberries, blackberries and loganberries.

HARVEST apples, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflowers, celeriac, grapes, kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, land cress, leeks, lettuce, oriental greens, parsley, parsnips, pears, spinach, swedes, candy fennel, turnips, winter cabbages and winter radishes. Accumulate seed from flowers and greens you’d like extra of, making certain it’s left to dry completely earlier than storing.

PICK – chrysanthemums, nerines, any remaining dahlias (catch them the day earlier than the primary frost) and stems thick with autumn berries, making certain you allow ample for the birds.

MAKE – sloe gin, jams, chutneys, preserves and pickles. Bag up seeds to present as items at Christmas.

BUY -pruning instruments,shears, bulb planters, pot toes, heat gardening gloves, new wellies, a protecting gardening apron, candy pea seeds, and garden-themed Christmas ornaments. In some unspecified time in the future in November, the value of spring-flowering bulbs can be decreased – maintain a watch out for bargains. Order bare-rooted crops for speedy supply.

ENJOY the autumn kaleidoscope, responsibly made bonfires and professionally organised firework shows, seeing your breath within the chill air, frosted cobwebs, cosy afternoons within the potting shed, the season’s first sprouts, parsnips, mince pies, and hearty soups made out of homegrown produce. 

VISIT – one of many many gardens and landscapes that mild themselves up throughout winter afternoons and evenings. Illuminations are held at Kew Gardens; RHS Harlow Carr, Bridgewater, Hyde Corridor, Wisley and Rosemoor; Edinburgh Botanics; Bedgebury Pinetum and Westonbirt Arboretum.

Additional Recommendation From Dan Cooper Backyard

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Though it pushes up suckers in all places, few bushes rival stag’s horn sumach, Rhus typhina, for autumn color


With the shortest, coolest days of the 12 months approaching, houseplants can be rising at a a lot slower charge. You wish to develop them ‘onerous’, with minimal water and meals, so they continue to be compact and wholesome till spring. Right here’s a handy guide a rough, ten-point plan for the subsequent three months:

Cut back watering, solely giving crops a drink when the compost floor turns into dry.

Don’t enable crops to face in saucers of water – pour away any extra.

Cease feeding till March.

Hold crops away from chilly drafts, open doorways and scorching radiators – they detest all of them.

Take away lifeless leaves and flowers however be reassured that some leaf loss is pure.

Maximise the quantity of sunshine crops obtain by transferring them nearer to home windows and roof lights.

Mud leaves usually in order that they’re capable of photosynthesise effectively.

Hold a watch out for pests that multiply shortly in a heat setting, corresponding to aphids.

Keep away from shopping for new crops. When you can’t resist, don’t enable them to catch a chill on their means house. By no means purchase houseplants which were displayed outdoors within the chilly.

Begin cyclamen, amaryllis, hyacinths and daffodils into progress for flowers at Christmas and early within the New 12 months.

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Plump, wholesome tulip bulbs are greatest planted this month

Potting Shed & Greenhouse

There’s all the time loads to be achieved underneath cowl when the weather fail to oblige.

Take time to scrub all of your hand instruments, secateurs, knives, lawnmowers and hedge trimmers. Begin by eradicating filth, grime and plant sap with a stiff brush after which sharpen blades the place applicable. Tighten nuts and bolts which have turn out to be unfastened over the summer season and lubricate transferring components. When you’re not planning to make use of your instruments over winter, coat the metallic components with Camellia oil to stop corrosion attributable to moisture within the air. At all times retailer instruments dry – maintain an previous rag at hand for drying them on moist days.

It’s been a classic 12 months for tomatoes, whether or not you develop them open air or underneath glass, however they are going to cease ripening naturally in some unspecified time in the future. Decide any which have reached full dimension and pop them in a field, drawer or paper bag with a banana or different ripe tomatoes. Inside 2-4 days, they’ll have developed color and flavour. Take away the exhausted vines and compost them, having fun with these previous couple of wafts of tomato scent.

Sow candy peas in deep pots for early flowers subsequent summer season. November is right because the climate is constantly cool, and the seedlings will consider producing roots slightly than shoots. Select pots or root trainers that can keep the course – I discover that cardboard tubes and paper pots disintegrate or develop mould earlier than the climate is gentle sufficient for planting out in spring.

Examine crops coming in from the backyard for pests, particularly slugs and snails. These pesky creatures are nonetheless energetic and might trigger a lot harm throughout the confines of a greenhouse. Take away previous flowers and yellowing leaves to cut back the danger of spreading ailments.

Begin to choose early autumn sowings of salad leaves together with lettuce, mizuna, mustard and rocket. Pluck the outer leaves, discarding any which were munched. Go away the centre of the plant to proceed rising over winter. 

Drain hoses and irrigation programs, put away backyard furnishings and punctiliously retailer cherished terracotta pots that is perhaps broken by frost.

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Our Jungle Backyard in November. Chilly-sensitive crops like coleus are among the many first to fade away

Terrace & Balcony

As winter approaches, terraces and patios assume an essential position within the backyard, offering area and construction because the crops that blurred them fade again. Grasp the chance of a advantageous day to scrub them up. Pale surfaces like sandstone replicate mild into the backyard on darkish days, whereas darkish supplies, together with slate, take in warmth when the solar shines.

As crops shed their leaves, flowers and fruits, algae can develop, making paving slippery and harmful, particularly in shaded areas. The identical applies to muddy paths. Sweep repeatedly and select a advantageous day to jet wash easy surfaces – I’m all the time gobsmacked at how a lot grime accumulates all through the summer season. Brushing sharp sand over the floor will act like a scouring pad, eradicating filth and filling any gaps. Crucially, keep away from utilizing chemical substances that may discover their means into drains and harm surrounding crops.

Proceed planting spring-flowering bulbs in containers. Whether or not you plant one selection per pot or use the ‘lasagne methodology’, select shorter, stouter varieties which might be much less more likely to blow over or flop after they bloom. Prime pots with horticultural grit to discourage pests, stop moss from rising and provides a neat look.

When you’re not keen on bulbs or desire a extra everlasting show, strive planting a container with skimmia, winter field (Sarcococca), hellebores, heathers and small-leaved ivy. Though not all of the crops demand it, my tip can be to make use of peat-free, ericaceous compost and water with rainwater when the compost will get dry.

The wind is your enemy for those who backyard on a balcony. You’ll know greatest the place it strikes and causes probably the most harm. Defend crops that stick their heads above the parapet or cut back their peak to cease them from getting buffeted. Grouping crops carefully collectively will create heat, humidity and shelter. Bamboo or willow screening will help to diffuse robust wind, but it surely’s not in line with the structure of each constructing. When you’re renting, you might want permission earlier than attaching screening to everlasting constructions. 

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Chrysanthemum ‘E.H. Wilson’ is a favorite for flower arranging

Flower Backyard

Even when the month begins gentle, flowering crops will quickly begin to skinny and recede. In components of Europe and America, the place it will get chilly in a short time, the frozen, skeletal types of desiccated perennials and grasses carry an entire new dimension to the winter backyard. Sadly, our damp local weather implies that the highest progress of herbaceous crops tends to blacken and soften earlier than collapsing like a stupefied tarantula – not such an imposing scene! There are exceptions like teasel and pampas grass; these must be left intact as meals and nesting materials sources.

Now’s your ultimate probability to safe the way forward for tender perennials corresponding to bananas, begonias, angel’s trumpets (Brugmansia), cannas, coleus, fuchsias, gingers and pelargoniums. Carry the crops, trim the roots and tidy the higher parts to a manageable dimension. Pot them in recent compost and overwinter them in a frost-free setting. They’ll want good mild and heat if you would like them to continue to grow. If that may’t be supplied, bananas, brugmansias, cannas, fuchsias and gingers will cope completely properly in a frost-free, unlit storage, basement or loft till they begin rising once more in April.

If tender crops have turn out to be too massive to maneuver, the most effective factor you are able to do is cut back their publicity to the killer mixture of moist and chilly. You are able to do little or no about chilly with out bringing the plant inside, however you’ll be able to management moist, which incorporates rain, humidity and condensation. Pack the crowns of susceptible crops like tree ferns and bananas with absorbent straw after which wrap them with fleece. Examine repeatedly for indicators of rot and take away the wrapping throughout hotter spells to permit air to flow into. 

Cowl autumn-sown hardy annuals with cloches in chilly or uncovered gardens.

Supplied the bottom shouldn’t be frozen, situations are ripe for dividing clumps of perennials. A Japanese Hori Hori will make mild work of the job, as will a pointy spade.

Chrysanthemums can proceed flowering till Christmas, however they want assist and safety from heavy rain. I lower them as quickly as one or two flower buds have opened on every stem – that means, they’re not blemished. When you maintain the vase water clear and recut the stems each few days, chrysanthemums can final for 2-3 weeks.

After the primary frost, elevate dahlias and gladioli, chopping the stems again to round 5cm. Go away them someplace heat and dry for a few days, and dirt any broken tubers or corms with yellow sulphur. Retailer them in open crates or packing containers coated with previous potting compost, sand or straw – this must be dry however not bone dry. Hold the crates in a frost-free, darkish place and examine them usually to make sure they’re nonetheless wholesome. In milder components of the UK, you’ll be able to depart dahlias within the floor, but it surely’s nonetheless clever to cowl them with a deep mulch of previous potting compost, mushroom compost or fallen leaves for insulation.

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Dahlia tubers lifted and able to be dried and saved.

Bushes, Shrubs & Lawns

Plant bare-rooted bushes and shrubs, together with roses, as quickly as they’re delivered. When you can’t plant instantly, unwrap and plant them collectively in a short lived gap till you’re prepared to seek out them a everlasting house (that is referred to as ‘heeling in’).

Defend the bottom of newly-planted bushes and hedges with a easy guard of rolled hen wire. Netting will cease rabbits from nibbling the bark, which might kill younger crops. Even for those who don’t have rabbits, a tree guard protects in opposition to strimmers, boots, footballs and pets.

In case you have any bushes supported by stakes, examine the ties are neither too tight nor too unfastened. Too tight and so they may lower into the bark; too unfastened and so they could possibly be ineffective. Cosy is what you might be in search of. When you detect that bark is being rubbed away, you might want a softer tie.

Keep on taking hardwood cuttings of bushes and shrubs. All you want is sections of stem the thickness of a pencil lower into 20-30cm lengths. Strip away any leaves and plant them in order that two-thirds of the stem is under floor. Be sure you plant them the identical means up that they had been rising; in any other case, they received’t root. Rising from hardwood cuttings is an extended recreation, and also you received’t have a well-rooted plant for a few 12 months; nevertheless, for those who’re affected person, it’s an inexpensive and simple means of filling your backyard or rising items for gardening mates.

With bonfire night time developing, it’s the proper time to assemble any lifeless and diseased wooden or leaves to be burned. Make your bonfire and light-weight it on the identical day – don’t burn heaps the place animals might need taken refuge.

New lawns can nonetheless be created by laying turf on ready floor. It’s too late to sow seeds as progress can be gradual, and birds will feed greedily on the generously provided grass seed.

Protecting established lawns freed from fallen leaves is important for his or her well being. Moist grass with no mild and airflow can succumb to a fungus referred to as fusarium, which causes round orange patches to seem. Rake leaves repeatedly, piling them in mesh luggage or bins to rot down and create leaf mould.

In case you have spring-flowering bulbs planted in grass, make your ultimate lower quick in order that the bulbs are greater than the turf in spring. That means, you’ll get a clearer view of the flowers. Don’t take away the foliage of autumn-flowering bulbs corresponding to cyclamen within the course of, as that can cut back flowering subsequent 12 months.

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A tempting show of autumn-harvested greens. Don’t overlook that pumpkins and squashes may be saved and eaten later.

Kitchen Backyard & Allotment

It’s recreation over for summer season crops, and most of your harvest can have been gathered by now. There’s one thing cathartic about clearing beds and releasing area for brand spanking new sowings. It’s like a brand new starting, however not fairly. Judging by the allotments the place we develop, some allotmenteers choose to pack up and hibernate till spring. Nonetheless, with just a little planning and minimal effort, you’ll be able to get pleasure from a smattering of crops by means of the winter and be prepared to return sprinting out of the beginning blocks in spring.

Plant bare-rooted fruit bushes and bushes, taking care to not bury them too deep. You received’t see any indicators of life till spring, however then they need to get off to a powerful begin. You have got till late February to get this job achieved, however you’ll discover that some nurseries will run out of in style varieties early within the planting season.

Plant rhubarb crowns in wealthy, moist soil, maintaining the rising level degree with the soil floor. I’d suggest leaving the plant to ascertain for a 12 months earlier than serving to your self to the stems. When you can’t wait that lengthy, take just a few when you’re sure the rhubarb is flourishing.

Sow a crop of early broad beans in well-drained soil. In colder areas, defend the rising seedlings with a cloche or sow in pots and maintain the younger crops in an unheated greenhouse or chilly body. ‘Meteor’ or ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ are good varieties to hunt out.

Plant garlic cloves in well-drained soil and full solar. Area them 15cm aside with their ideas 5cm under the floor. You can even plant some styles of shallot and onion now. Take care as they develop roots, as they will typically propel themselves out of the bottom!

Stake Brussels sprouts, kale and purple sprouting which might be vulnerable to rocking within the wind. These brassicas choose to develop in fairly compacted soil, so don’t be afraid to place your boot in on the base to agency them. Cowl crops with a taught internet to guard the leaves from hungry pigeons.

If any beds are empty, unfold a thick layer of manure over them now. The worms will get to work instantly, distributing natural matter evenly by means of the soil.

Cured pumpkins and squashes may be saved in a dry, frost-free place till you might be prepared to make use of them. Our file is a ‘Crown Prince’ pumpkin that lasted from one Halloween to the subsequent with out dropping any consuming high quality. How wonderful is that?

Minimize perennial herbs like mint and marjoram again to floor degree. I resist pruning our substantial rosemary bush for a short time as I like to choose armfuls for adorning at Christmas. Till final century, rosemary was as a lot a part of Christmas traditions as mistletoe, holly and ivy – it smells higher than any of them!

Minimize out the fruited stems of blackberries, loganberries and autumn raspberries. I like to present them mulch on the identical time. Prepare the brand new shoots of brambles right into a excessive arch form to maximise the fruiting size of the stems. Tie them firmly to a supporting construction.

Begin pruning fruit bushes as quickly as their leaves have fallen. Suppose first, as a result of you could have a short time to finish this process. Typically it’s higher to think about which branches you want to take away earlier than selecting up your pruning instruments. I like to recommend studying up on the precise fruit kind and tree form as a result of you’ll be able to’t undo an ill-advised lower.

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The playful antics of our resident sparrows maintain me amused all 12 months spherical

Wildlife & Sustainable Backyard

November marks the beginning of the hen feeding season. You’ll discover species which were absent over the summer season returning to your backyard seeking meals and shelter. Hedgerows and gardens must be brimming with seeds and berries, however they will shortly disappear when a flock of hungry birds descends. As soon as nature’s larder is empty, it’s time to mud down your hen desk and dangle up your feeders to maintain your feathered mates well-nourished.

Use a fishing internet to clear fallen leaves from ponds. A number of received’t do any hurt, but when there are too many, they are going to decompose, making a nutrient-rich sludge that can encourage algae and speedy weed progress.

It’s time to scrub hen packing containers, feeders and birdbaths completely in readiness for winter. A bucket of scorching, soapy water and a stiff brush are all you want, though I discover an previous toothbrush useful for stepping into all of the nooks and crannies. 

Convert empty nesting packing containers into winter roosting websites by clearing previous nests and cleansing them completely. When you really feel beneficiant, present a comfy mattress of sheep’s wool or the seed heads of previous man’s beard. 

Mount new nesting packing containers, positioning them on a tree, wall, fence or constructing that’s no less than 1.5m – 2m above floor and past the attain of cats and different predators. Connect roosting pockets to hedges to create momentary winter shelters. Within the UK, the best facet for a birdhouse is East, North, North-East or South-East, dealing with away from the prevailing climate and robust daylight. 

Don’t be in an excessive amount of haste to tidy up. Go away seedheads on crops to supply meals for birds and small mammals by means of autumn and winter. Fallen leaves give shelter to bugs however accumulate them from lawns and stop diseased foliage from rotting close to cultivated crops. Hole stems, empty seed pods and stacked logs create the proper refuge for ladybirds. Don’t trim ivy and evergreen hedges, as they’re excellent for roosting birds.

The speed at which materials decomposes will cut back, however you’ll add numerous materials to your compost heap or bin this month. Take care to layer moist and dry so it doesn’t turn out to be a smelly, soggy mass. In areas with excessive rainfall, cowl open compost heaps with tarpaulin to maintain the contents on the dry aspect, eradicating them sometimes to let air flow into.

I’ve talked about bonfires earlier than, however I’ll point out them once more! Don’t assemble them days or even weeks earlier than burning as animals will take up residence and will perish within the flames. Pictured under is a primary instance of a bonfire than could possibly be an animal lodge? Or, is it an animal lodge that could possibly be a bonfire? When you can’t inform, neither can a hedgehog.

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Animal lodge or funeral pyre? What’s your guess?

Classes: chrysanthemums, compost, Container gardening, daffodils, Flowers, Foliage, foraging, Crops, Sensible Recommendation, Bushes and Shrubs, tulips, Climate

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