Jobs for the garden….to tidy or not to tidy?

You have to be a really hardened keen gardener to have spent any sort of quality time in the garden over the last few very wet weeks. Now that the rain has subsided a little and before it gets too cold is a good time to get those November jobs done  – to tidy or not to tidy?

Traditionally autumn was always tidy time in the garden. Nowadays, people are much more aware of the needs of wildlife and the benefits of leaving seedheads in the garden for birds and messy places for hibernating hedehogs. Many solitary bees use hollow stems as nesting sites so that is another reason not to be too zealous in tidying up. Allowing plants to rot down into the soil allows the nutrients from those plants to seep back into the soil too. However, there are some jobs that can be done this month without adversely affecting our feathered/furry friends:

– cut back your herbacious perennials which die back over winter
– rake garden leaves up from the lawn to allow the lawn to ‘breathe’ and take in water and nutrients
– fill up bird feeders
– insulate container plants by placing bubble wrap around the containers
– lift Dahlia tubers and store them in a dry, frost free greenhouse or shed
– cover veg beds in a really good layer of manure
– now is a great time to plant currant bushes and raspberry canes
– stake tall brassicas to protect from winter winds
– give pear and apple trees a good prune
– aereate your lawn using a garden fork
– sharpen up the edges of your lawn using a spade or edging tool.

Jo Manfredi Hamer is an award winning garden designer.

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