Shrubs and all sorts of hardwood plants will be arriving from nurseries in November, provided they were ordered in good time, back in the summer, and will need planting. The site will have been prepared last month, and now, about ten days before planting, a light dressing of bonemeal can be scattered over the area to which the roots are likely to extend, and forked into the top 4 or 5 in. of soil. When the plants arrive, put them in as soon as possible.
Planting can be undertaken, provided the soil is moist but not frozen or really sodden – if it is, then put the plants back in their wrappings with a little air and leave them for three or four days, or heel them in in a shallow trench in a place where they are sheltered from wind and least likely to be frozen, until the weather improves. They will be quite safe there for several weeks.
When they are planted, the roots should be spread out to their full length -they are not mobile, and will stay put in any position, so that if doubled up or bent backwards, they cannot extend normally and may never grow. A small hump at the bottom of the hole encourages the roots to spread out and downwards as they naturally would, and staking before planting avoids damage to the roots. Firmness is essential to present wind rocking and to avoid pockets in the soil. Water the plant in, and rake the soil surface so that it does not remain smooth and collect water, and all should be well, unless the winter is unusually cold.
Hardwood cuttings of shrubs, including roses can still be taken and put in a trench out of doors in a sheltered place, lining the bottom with sand, and stripping the lower leaves off the cutting. Climbing roses can be pruned, and ramblers should be given the finishing touches.
This is a good month for laying a new lawn. With the likelihood that rain will follow soon after turfing, there is every chance that the turves will unite strongly and the grass roots penetrate rapidly to the soil below. The soil is prepared as for sowing grass seed, though it is not essential to produce such a fine tilth. Turves are usually 3 x 1 ft. in size. Lay them as soon as they arrive, staggering them in the same way that bricks are for a wall, and stand on a plank on the already laid turf to place each successive row. Lay each turf slightly humped and then gently flatten them when the row has been completed; knock each row up against the preceding one as the work progresses. Finally, fill in the cracks with sand or sieved compost.
Established lawns will have their last cut, if they have not already had it, first sweeping off leaves; in fact leaves should be removed constantly as they encourage worms and suffocate the grass so that it turns yellow. They make good compost, except the leathery ones, such as laurel, bay and holly; beech, oak, elm, lime and fruit tree leaves are all good, however.
Some plants will be coming into flower now, for instance .tfahonia ‘Charity’ and M. lomariifilth, the autumn-flowering cherry (Prunus subhirtella autumnalis), some of the late varieties of Calluna vulgarts and Erica carnea, and jasminum nudiflorum in sheltered places. Border digging and manuring can continue. Tulips can be planted, and there is still just time to plant narcissi and hyacinths. Outdoor chrysantilcmums will now come to an end and the stems should be cut back to leave a few inches, lifted and boxed into compost, and placed in a cold frame until mid December. The grey-leaved plants and any with woolly leaves will come through the wet of the winter better if protected now, with a cloche or covering of some kind which keeps off the wet but lets in air.
Light becomes very short in November, and when it is there, is of poor quality, so the greenhouse glass should be as clean as possible, and should be scrubbed if necessary. Condensation should be avoided, as this cuts down light transmission, by adequate ventilation during the day A little gentle heat will also dry things out and prevent too much humidity in which grey mould can thrive.
Young plants of primulas, cinerarias, polyanthus and calceolarias will need attention, and, in particular, should be watched for greenfly outbreaks. The late-flowering chrysanthemums will begin to flower in succession, and freesias will be in full bloom, scenting the greenhouse gloriously. Azaleas, cyclamen and poinsettias will be coming up to flowering, so that watering and liquid feeding will be required.
Many plants will have been dried off and put under the greenhouse staging for their winter rest, and cacti need only be watered once a month, if that. Pelargonium cuttings which have rooted will no longer be growing and will need only just enough water to keep the soil moist; the same applies to potted fuchsias, which do not appreciate dust-dry soil.
As soon as the leaves have fallen, and the last of the crop is picked, the top fruit can be pruned this month and any time during the winter from now onwards, following with winter pest and disease spraying. Pruning is done to prevent shoots and branches becoming crowded and disease ridden, and to induce the production of new growth, which will crop well and regularly. Unpruned trees become a tangled jungle of growth, live and dead, full of pests and diseases, and bearing too much fruit which does not ripen or is too small when it does. Bud pecking by birds may start this month and proprietar) bird repellents are advisable. Formally trained apples and pears can have the summer pruning finished now as to leave stubs 2-3 in. long; the bush trees are better renewal pruned; be particularly careful to remove the shoot tips where mildew was a nuisance in the summer. Mulching can follow pruning and spraying.
If blackcurrant pruning was not done in August, it can be done now, and summer pruning of redcurrants and gooseberries can be completed as with top fruit. The old fruited canes of raspberries are cut out now, if not already done, together with those of the autumn fruiting kinds. Strawberries should be well established, and may be strawed to prevent weed growth. Established plants more than one year old may be treated with simazine as an alternative for weed control. Vegetable garden tidying can continue, together with digging and manuring. If lime is thought necessary, do not be too prodigal with it, and in any case time its application so that at least six weeks intervene between liming and manuring. Parsnips can be lifted now and stored in sand in a cool shed, though they will usually keep perfectly well through the winter if left in the ground, and dug up only when wanted for cooking. Celery can be lifted, leeks should be ready- they are a useful vegetable as they will go on right through the winter. Spinach and spinach beet are equally obliging. Lettuce sown in September, such as ‘Winter Density’, if cloched early this month, will survive the winter well and be ready for cutting in March. They have the further advantage that they have a very pleasant, nutty flavour. October lettuce sowings will need transplanting to their permanent positions and protecting.
Leatherjackets, the grubs of the cranefly (daddy-long-legs) may start to feed on grass roots this month, so that pale brown patches of dead grass appear on the lawn throughout the winter. BHC dust will control them. Worms can be killed or expelled with Mowrah meal, derris or chlordane; the best time to deal with them is the autumn and early winter, when the soil is moist and they have come close to the surface after the summer heat and dryness.