WHAT TO DO IN YOUR GARDEN IN EARLY NOVEMBER
  • Check variegated shrubs for plain green shoots and prune them away
  • Check stakes and ties are secure on trees and climbers
  • Continue planting trees and shrubs, the ground is at its warmest
  • The bare rooted season will start next week, it’s the ideal time to plant beech, prepare the ground and spray off any weeds now
  • Apples which you intend to store should be picked now before they are fully ripe on a dry day
  • Apples were traditionally stored in boxes wrapped in paper, you can also put 7 or 8 pounds of fruit in a plastic bag, put a few slits in the bag and your fruit will store perfectly, blemished fruit will not store
  • Cut back roses, floribundas and hybrid teas by half, shrub roses by one third, climbers tidy up and tie in, they will look better and prevents wind rock which causes suckers
  • Accumulations of leaves on heather beds and lawns are to be avoided
  • Sad front door pots could do with a winter makeover, remember to change your compost to prevent diseases
  • Plant your tulips now, taking care to add grit for drainage.
  • Check forced hyacinths for water
  • Check heaters are working properly in your greenhouse
  • Clear out old crops and growing bags, adding material to the compost heap

Trees and shrubs with attractive bark will now take centre stage.  You will find that trees with weeping branches against the diminishing light of late autumn take on an architectural beauty.  One of my favourites is a weeping beech, a mature specimen is unsurpassable, I’m afraid not for the small garden though, but you can get a smaller variety called Purple Fountain, an excellent tree especially where space is limited.  Weeping birch with its white bark is well worth planting.  Betula jacquemontii (Himalayan Birch) with its creamy white bark that peels & flakes with age is one of the most popular trees in Europe and you can see why.  Another beauty is Acer Griseum, having just shed its glorious autumn foliage  revealing a ruffled chocolate mahogany bark is worth seeking out, as is the coral barked maple (Acer Sanko-kaku) which deepens its coral red colour as winter progresses, under planted with snowdrops, it’s a January treat.  Salix Aucutifolia with its blue black branches covered in winter catkins should be planted more often especially in a wet garden where it will thrive. Parrotia persica (Ironwood) is prized for its autumn foliage but it also produces the most distinctive multi-coloured striped bark.  Not the easiest plant to come across and it takes a number of years to reveal its beauty but I think it’s well worth waiting for.  The dogwoods as they are known with their yellow and red bark are so easy to grow and give a good winter display when mass planted.  The variety called Cornus alba Siberica is the most intense red, they all will grow in very poor soil even wet.  In fact if they weren’t so easy to grow they would be more sought after.  The planting season is in full swing, there’s nothing like a good bark to brighten up the winter!

November