November “To-Do’s” in the Garden






October’s over and we’re onto November.  In our part of the world November brings the cold weather and the first signs of snow, but that doesn’t mean I’m not in the garden.  There are a few things left to do to close out fall season as winter approaches. As a matter of fact November is the perfect time for some garden activities.  Like October I’ve put together a quick list below of things I’m doing in my garden/landscape right now.  I’ve broken the tasks down by categories for a little organization, and I think for my own check list…


  • November is the best month to plant tulip bulbs. Plant them as deep as possible for a better chance of them flowering again in future years, but if the ground is too wet, plant in black plastic pots for transplanting in the New Year. Bury holly leaves with bulbs if squirrels are a problem, or put screen over the plantings and remove in the spring at the first sign of growth.
  • Plant trees and shrubs now until Christmas so that their roots settle in.
  • Early November is a good time to plant wallflowers, pansies and forget-me-nots for spring colour alongside tulip bulbs.
  • Fill gaps in flower borders. Plant wallflowers for bright shades and to fill the garden with fragrance, as well as tulip bulbs for contrasting colour and height.
  • Plant garlic now so over-winter chilling encourages bulb formation.
  • Plant roses.
  • This is the best month to plant soft-fruit bushes. Check they are certified virus-free before buying.


  • Clear fallen leaves from lawns, ponds and beds – keep them separate for making leaf mould. However, if the leaves are diseased – roses with blackspot, for example – they should be thrown away or burnt.
  • Cover an empty vegetable patch with a layer of mulch such as composted bark, leaf mould or well-rotted manure.
  • Clean up your blackberry and raspberry bushes. Branches that have provided fruit should be pruned to soil level. Tie new stems into place & encourage new roots by burying cane tips in the soil.
  • Continue lifting, splitting and replanting overgrown clumps of herbaceous perennials.
  • Wash out pots and seed trays then sort by size so you’re ready and organized for spring sowing.
  • Protect clay pots from another hard winter by removing saucers and standing on bricks or cut 2×4’s.
  • Clean greenhouses, potting sheds, and tool sheds to be sure your organized for the spring.
  • If the weather allows, hoe weeds before they take hold.  Since the ground is very moist and loose this time of year a garden “weasel” or the like works great for this, and it opens the soil at the same time.
  • Clean out bird houses, wear gloves and sanitize your hands immediately after you clean them to avoid unwanted parasites.


  • Prune back shrub roses to prevent their shallow roots from being lifted in strong winter winds.
  • Cut back flowering shrubs and tall roses by half to reduce wind damage over winter.
  • Try not to back prune hydrangeas – the dead flowers will protect bulbs from the frost.
  • After stormy weather, check for broken branches and stems, and prune back to healthy wood to prevent further damage.


  • Set up a bird feeder in an open place away from fences or buildings. Refill regularly and remember to put out fresh water for them as well.
  • Bring tender plants inside before the first frost falls and causes them damage.
  • Spike the lawn with a fork or hollow tine aerator to stop the soil becoming compacted.
  • You can still overseed your lawn, and it’s a perfect time to do it after you aerate.
  • Clean up the lawnmower, weed eater, and other power tools, chances are you’re not going to need them again this season.
  • Clean out your house “gutters”, you may have to do this again but it’ll be a much easier job if you do it a couple of times.

So this is what I’m doing now.  I hope I reminded you to do something, or maybe even showed you something new.  In any case back to the garden grind…

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