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November's Chores PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bakker Company & Parag Nawathe   
Nov 03, 2005 at 03:20 AM

We often get an encore of summer at the end of this month, it is wise to start preparing for winter. Still there is no need to rush. Weather permitting, there is always something to do or see for the true gardener. The garden can still look quite glorious with the last of the late-summer flowers in bloom.
The garden in general

  • Cover all perennials with a layer of leaves, compost, or a mixture of compost and turf.
  • Protect Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Hydrangeas around the base from the cold.
  • Keep the soil around evergreens moist. Do not forget your non-deciduous hedge!
  • Pack the graft union of Roses in straw or a mixture of compost and leaves or use rose collars.
  • On standard Roses the graft and branches should be packed in straw or, not so pretty but very effective, a bin liner. This can be pulled over the rose and tied just under the graft. You can also buy special rose covers for this purpose.
  • Tie high grasses like Pampas grass together and protect the root clump.
  • Clean out pots, containers, and place them upside down.
  • Empty the garden hose.
  • Disconnect the outside tap.
  • Place out bird tables.


  • As long as temperatures have not fallen below freezing, shrubs, roses and perennials can still be planted.
  • If you have not yet planted your flower bulbs you can still do so, as long as temperatures are not below freezing.
  • Newly planted shrubs, roses and other plants can be protected with a layer of leaves, manure or other organic material. This will prevent the soil from drying out, protect roots from frost and improve growth.
  • Give newly planted plants extra water.
  • If you wish to move hardy deciduous shrubs or climbers, it is best to do so after the first few frosty nights. Make sure the plants are watered in well.
  • Taking up summer bulbs
  • If your Dahlias, Begonias and Cannas were still in full flower in October, chances are you have not yet taken them up. Now is the time to do so. Shake off the soil and remove damaged parts. Dry them in a sheltered place.
  • When the bulbs and tubers are dry you can wrap them in old newspaper and store them in a frost-free place.


  • If your hedge has grown out of proportion this is the time to cut it back. This also includes evergreen hedges like Taxus and most deciduous hedges, but not for conifers. These do not usually shoot from old wood.
  • A fence overgrown with ivy looks just like a hedge and can be treated in the same way. Cut long shoots back, quite close to the fence.
  • Wisteria growing on a fence or pergola can also be pruned back now. Select some young branches and tie them together to create more space for pruning. Prune back the side shoots on older branches to about 10 cm, just above a bud.


  • Remove the last fallen leaves.
  • Mow the lawn one last time before winter and, if necessary, add a sprinkling of turf seed and fertilizer.
  • Aerate your lawn now for a fantastic result next season.

Tub plants

  • All tub plants that are not hardy should be moved indoors by now, if you want to see them sprout again next season!
  • Pot plants, like Hostas for example, can be moved right up to the wall, often the warmest spot. Give them a layer of leaves as protection and also fill spaces between the pots with leaves.
  • 'Topiary' shrubs like Box need regular watering.

Vegetable garden

  • Fruit trees can be pruned as soon as the leaves have fallen. This is called 'rejuvenation pruning'.
  • Don't forget to harvest the last fruit and vegetables from the garden.
  • Some cabbages can remain outside and will even add some colour to the winter garden.
  • The best time to plant young fruit trees is halfway through November. Remove any remaining leaves before planting.


  • Remove fallen leaves.
  • Old leaves from pond plants can be thinned or removed.
  • Ensure the pond does not freeze over completely. Fish, frogs and other creatures in your pond need oxygen.
  • A football or some old tennis balls prevent the pond from freezing over.


  • Tub plants that spend the winter indoors like Fuchsia and Pelargonium ('geranium') need very little water.
  • At the end of November the first flower bulbs (that were forced in October) can be moved into the lounge.
  • In order to have tulips and hyacinths in full flower in the house around New Year, plant the bulbs with their noses just touching the soil surface in the pot or bowl. Crocuses are planted a few centimetres deeper and narcissi should have their noses just above the soil. Cover the bowl with a layer of moss. It instantly looks a lot more attractive.
  • Flower bulbs can also be grown in just a glass of water, like hyacinths in their specially shaped hyacinth glasses. Try growing other flower bulbs in this way. Flower bulbs grown on water can only be used once.
  • Place pots and bowls in a cool, dark place (around 12° C.). After approximately 8 weeks most bulbs will have developed shoots.

Last Updated ( Feb 04, 2006 at 08:43 AM )
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