What to do in the garden in November

November garden

Last month we saw a big change to the garden. The long hot summer is a distant memory and we’re getting used to the new golden colours that autumn has brought us. A lot of perennial plants are dying down and are getting ready for their big sleep. I’m sitting on our bench, with a mug of coffee, admiring the changing colours and I’m thinking: what is there to do in the garden in November?

Things to do in the garden in November

Surprisingly, there is quite a lot we can do in November. Not just in terms of tidying up the garden but also in terms of planning for next year. We want our garden to look even better next spring and it’s a good idea to plan and do something about that now.

What should I plant in November

November is a great time to plant bulbs that flower in the spring, like Daffodils, Crocuses or Tulips.

The cold weather helps Tulips by killing off any diseases in the soil that may affect them. Keep an eye on the weather forecast because Tulip bulbs don’t like sitting in wet soil.

To prevent them from rotting, don’t plant them if the weather is exceptionally wet and damp and wait for a drier period. Depending on where you live in the world, you would of course only plant them if the ground isn’t frozen. If that is the case, you can plant them earlier in October.

Plant them in a sunny spot, with the pointed end facing up. Check the packaging for specific depth requirements and water after planting.

tulip bulbs

Tulip bulbs

What to sow indoors in November

​Now is the time to sow things like Pak Choi and Spring Onions. If you have a heated greenhouse or a sunny window sill, you can sow herbs like basil, dill, parley and chives or winters salads. Some chilli plants can be sown all year round on a sunny windowsill.

What to sow and plant outdoors in November

You can sow hardy broad beans and peas now.

There is still a large number of plants that you can plant out in November. For example, now is a good time to plant Blueberries. Don’t forget they need acid soil, so if yours isn’t, you can use ericaceous compost and plant them in a pot or container.

November is a great month to plant all manner of berries: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants and gooseberries are great for this month.

I planted garlic at this time last year. You could try something a bit more unusual like Elephant garlic. The bulbs are huge!

garlic

If you’re a confident gardener, try growing Asparagus. Now is the time to plant them out.

Can I plant Pansies in November?

​Yes, you can! November is a great time to plant them and they are fantastic little plants if you like colour in your garden when everything else is not doing much. Give them a sunny spot and mix in some garden compost into the soil and they will reward you with long-lasting flowers.

pansies

Pansies

Jobs to do in November

If your garden is like mine, there seems to be a never-ending list of jobs to do this month. The main jobs are:

  1. Protect plants from frost. Move delicate plants to the greenhouse or protect them with horticultural fleece or bubble wrap
  2. Raise containers and pots to prevent them from water logging. Raising them up onto pot feet or even bricks will help drainage and keep the soil not too wet.
  3. Rake up fallen leaves from paths to prevent them getting soggy and slippery. I quite like leaving leaves where they aren’t a problem because they provide a great habitat for small wildlife such as bugs and worms. You can also make leaf mold to use as soil improver next year, or add them to your compost heap.
  4. If you haven’t pruned your roses last month, now is a good time to do this.
  5. Tidy up dead flower heads and foliage but leave some for wildlife. I always leave my Echinacea and Verbenas because their seed heads are very pretty in winter covered by frost.
  6. Remove all annuals and replace with winter bedding
  7. Cut back and divide perennials for stronger growth next year.
  8. Now is still a good time to plant bare rooted roses.
feeding bird

Robin feeding in the garden

Feed birds

I feed the birds in my garden all year round, but it is very important to feed them regularly in winter if you want to encourage them into your garden.

There is a wide variety of bird feeders available but you can also make your own if you’re on a budget. Make sure you keep topping up food and water, as birds need high-energy foods during the cold weather.

You may have to top up the food and water twice a day during this time. Attracting birds into your garden is so rewarding, but also very useful as they also feed on slugs and snails and other unwanted pests.

bird feeding

hanging bird feeder

What can I leave for later?

There are certain jobs that are traditionally done this month that can be left for a later date. This is usually a time to cut everything down and tidy things away. However, a lot of gardeners now believe that there are benefits in leaving things ‘untidy’. A lot of insects and wildlife rely on untidy corners of our garden so you are doing the ecological balance of your garden a favour by not being too tidy. Last year I left my Echinacea, Verbena, Agapanthus and others die down naturally and didn’t cut them down. There is plenty of time to do this in late winter/early spring and will not affect the new growth. And you get the bonus of having a more interesting garden in winter because some of these plants look great covered in frost or snow.

echinacea seed heads

Echinacea seed heads

What I’m doing in my own garden this month

My main job in the garden this month is a good tidy up! Yes, I know I said it’s best not to be too tidy, but some tidying is necessary. As long as there are corners left for wildlife, you still need to tidy the rest. There are leaves and weeds everywhere in my garden, so I’m going to tackle the paths first by raking up the leaves and pulling out the weeds. Doing this manually can be back-breaking work but it’s also very satisfying and is still the best way to get rid of them.

Some of my plants have self-seeded on the gravel paths, so I will gently pull them out and re-pot them. Don’t you just love getting plants for free!

I have already filled my bird feeding station and I’m topping up regularly.

I have also taken all tender plants like my lemon trees and a mimosa into the greenhouse. It is unheated but I’m hoping that they will be ok. If it gets very cold like the last winter we had, I will protect them further by wrapping them in fleece.

garden in november

My garden in November

So as you can see, lots to do this month! I hope that you find time to do all your jobs but that you also remember to sit outside and admire all your hard work. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your garden growing and evolving.

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9 Comments

  1. 22/11/2018 / 8:47 AM

    What a nice post 🙂 I live in Australia, so November here is quite different to the Northern Hemisphere. But I’m from Finland, so I know what November is all about 😉 I used to get a lot of seasonal depression as the darker months of November and December were really not for me. But looking after the garden in November, such as planting new flowers for the spring gives something to look forward to, so this is a very nice idea. Also, I’m a huge animal lover so I love to feed birds in my garden, I used to do it in Finland and do it now in Australia too.

    • 22/11/2018 / 9:31 AM

      Yes, November in Australia must be very different where you are. I understand what you are saying about the darker months of November and December. The short days are something I don’t enjoy about winter (apart from the cold too). It is already dark at 4pm and any gardening has to be done early in the day. I imagine you must have some very interesting birds visiting your garden in Australia! Thank you very much for your lovely comment!

  2. Ali
    21/11/2018 / 11:54 AM

    What a nice post you wrote! I really enjoyed reading it and I could not be silent about your post so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You! For sharing this quality post with others.
    Actually this is exactly the information that I was looking for about what to do in garden and when I landed to your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in details.
    So I’m happy that you decided to write about this topic and share it with people. It’s very useful and can definitely be used as a great source for what to do in garden in November.
    I will come back to your website again for sure and I’m looking forward to read your new posts.)

    Thanks!

    • 21/11/2018 / 12:22 PM

      Thank you for your lovely comments Ali! I’m glad my post answered your questions and hope you enjoy reading more of our gardening journey!

  3. 20/11/2018 / 4:44 PM

    I love gardening, but I think I love gardening in the fall best because I really enjoy feeding the birds and seeing all of the different kinds I can attract with the different bird feed available. I also love growing small vegetable plants inside when it starts to get colder because there’s nothing like making homemade pasta with fresh vine tomatoes for the holidays!

    I think removing the dead flowers from outside is bittersweet for me because not only is it a sign that winter is coming, it’s also kinda sweet because it gives me a reason to look forward to spring and I’ll have less to do when it gets warm enough to plant again.

    • 20/11/2018 / 4:54 PM

      It’s certainly true that fall is a great time for gardening! The colours are just amazing, especially when it’s a sunny day. Last year I had so many vegetable plants growing on my window-sill, my kitchen felt like a jungle! We got a greenhouse this year, so hopefully the house will be less crowded. Homemade pasta with fresh vine tomatoes sounds delicious, unfortunately in the UK we lack the light levels needed to grow tomatoes this late in the year.

  4. 20/11/2018 / 4:27 PM

    Nuria,
    November has been a busy month for gardening. I have moved all of my hanging baskets inside, two Hibiscus plants and set up the bird feeders with seed. Mulched the leaves on the grassy areas, picked up fallen limbs and stored all of the flower pots that did not come in the house.
    You have given me a couple more task, trim back the roses and picking up some of the seeds that have fallen on the ground for next spring planting.
    My bigger Hibiscus plant takes up a lot of room in the house, can it be trimmed back to make it fit betting indoors.
    John

    • 20/11/2018 / 4:44 PM

      Hi John,
      Looks like you have also been very busy in your garden! There is so much to do at this time of year. Regarding trimming back your Hibiscus, it really depends on where you live, but I would say it is best to do this in spring, when the plant is starting its growth cycle. If your Hibiscus is very big, you can cut out any old and damaged stems, it won’t harm it, but don’t trim back any fresh and healthy grow, wait till Spring. I have three hardy Hibiscus in my garden, two of them are planted in pots and I left them all outside last winter. They survived very well but it depends on what kind of Hibiscus you are growing. I hope we have a milder winter this time, the last one we had was unusually cold for this part of the UK and a lot of gardens suffered. Good luck with all your gardening tasks John!

  5. 20/11/2018 / 4:06 PM

    I enjoyed this article, very helful.

Hope you enjoyed the post, what are your thoughts?

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