November in The Garden

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

November can be a frustrating month weather-wise for gardeners, neither winter nor autumn, cold, wet, and a good few weeks until Christmas. It kept its original name from the Latin novem meaning ‘nine’ which marked it the ninth month of the year in the Roman calendar. November was named during a time when the calendar year began with March, which is why its name no longer corresponds with its placement in the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

Even though the days are shorter and wetter and windier, there is always something to lift our hearts and minds. We have a little robin who has taken up residence in our plant area this year, and who has on several occasions flown into the Shop to check us out. He sings loudly and beautifully, I am sure he is giving thanks for all those crumbs left under the tables, but his particular favourite seems to be melted cheese!

After the mild October we have had, some plants in the garden may need extra protection from frost. If you have tender plants such as bananas, then you will need to wrap them up. If you are continuing to use your greenhouse through this season, then consider insulating it with bubble wrap to save energy and keep it warmer. A customer gave me a great idea for a greenhouse heater … place a terracotta pot in the middle of your greenhouse, pop three or four nightlights in the bottom, light and then cover with another pot. The lights warm the pots and keep the temperature above freezing. And no paraffin smells!!

November is also traditionally the month of remembrance, and all the more poignant for my family this year with anniversary of the passing of my father who served his country in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary for his whole working life. Armistice Day is on 11 November and is also known as Remembrance Day. It marks the day World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. At the Shop we will mark this with a two-minute silence held at 11am on Sunday 14th November to remember the people who have died in conflict. We ask that you respect our staff and customers at this important time, thank you.

We are already casting our minds forward to Christmas lunches, and are now taking bookings for both group and family bookings. Please give us a ring for more information or a menu.

This month’s quote:

In a world where you can be anything … be kind!


Flower of the month The flower for the month of November is the chrysanthemum. The word chrysanthemum comes from the Greek words chrys and anthemum, meaning golden flower. In the language of flowers, chrysanthemum is considered to symbolize honesty, joy, and optimism, surely much-needed during these uncertain times. They are fantastic plants to grow, with flowers from small sprays to absolute giants, and in a rainbow of colours.


THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER Make the most of those sunny days and get on with a few jobs, there is always something to do…


· You can sow broad bean Aquadulce now but protect with a cloche.

· You can continue to plant garlic such as Solent Wight until the middle of the month.

· Protect the crowns of globe artichoke by wrapping straw around the base of the plants.

· Divide clumps of chives and other herbs into small pots to grow on a windowsill indoors.


· It’s your last chance to plant spring bulbs but make sure you plant to the correct depth. This information will be on the label. If the ground isn’t ready, plant the bulbs in pots which can be planted out later.


· Make early sowings of geranium seed. You will need a minimum lowest temperature of 15C to ensure germination.

· Sow cactus seeds.

· Cut down the dead growth and lift dahlias and cannas once the top foliage has been frosted. Lay dahlias upside down to dry out, then store in a frost-free place.

· Yellowing cyclamen leaves should be removed together with faded flowers by pulling directly from the corm. Keep them in a cool but light place.

· Remember that plants that flower through the winter will need watering, but other subjects will need much less.


· Cut back perennial plants that are past their best, and clear away all the debris (great places for snails and slugs to hide otherwise!) and added to the compost heap.

· Plant wallflowers in the space left; they will give a lovely rainbow of colour, or you could try tulips planted amongst the wallflowers to give a good contrast.


· If the weather is still mild you will find your grass is still growing so give it a light trim.

· Try to remove any fallen leaves that have blown onto the lawn. Consider putting the leaves into bin bags or empty compost bags (make a few holes in the bag first), and hide them away somewhere in the garden until next year, when you will have a handy supply of leaf mould!

· Spike the lawn with a hollow-tined aerator and then brush grit into the holes for improved drainage.

· Try to keep off the lawn if conditions are very wet or frosty as this will compact the soil.


· It always proves worthwhile to try and use some time this month to wash down the outside of your greenhouse. This removes any algae and dirt that built up over the summer that will prevent the light getting in. You could use your car wash brush on the end of a hose!

· Check on over-wintering plants to make sure they are keeping healthy and pest-free. Remove any dead or dying growth.

· It’s a great time to clean and disinfect pots and trays ready for next season.

· Start planning your garden for next year (this always makes me feel better on those dark days) and order plants and seeds early to avoid disappointment.

· When temperatures fall birds and hedghogs will appreciate regular feeding so why not take a look at our wildlife food and care section and see the great range on offer. Why not inspire a friend or relative to love their garden wildlife by buying them a Christmas present made up of feeders, nest box, and a variety of foods?


King Street, Colyton, Devon EX24 6PD Email: Tel: 01297 551113 Mobile: 07805 956157

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