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The Gardening Coach – November

PUBLISHED: 16:16 13 November 2013 | UPDATED: 16:16 13 November 2013

Plant different tulips together for an eye-catching display

Plant different tulips together for an eye-catching display

Archant

Judy Shardlow gives a guide to what to do in the garden this month

Gardeners need good imaginations. Look at your garden on a cold, dark and wet November day and imagine the dazzling spring colour that tulips will bring five months from now. Imagine the deep, plum-magenta, double-flowered satin ruffled pink of Antraciet, or the dazzling, amethyst with blue eyes, lily-flowered Burgundy or the high impact elegance of the flaming orange, lily-flowered Ballerina.

I love vibrant jewel coloured tulips, they are the perfect asset for the spring garden. They bring valuable oomph to the border and look stunning against the zingy greens of plants such as euphorbia amygdaloides Robbiae or euphorbia polychroma. But there are plenty of softer colours too, including the classic fresh green and cream tulip Spring Green.

November is the best time for planting tulips. They flower early, mid or late season, so you can have tulips from March until May. Look for tulip collections, with three or four colours, which take the guess work out of putting tulips together. Plant deeply and make sure to add some garden compost and horticultural grit to the soil, choosing a location in full or part sun. Then sit back and dream of the colour that you’ve banked away for spring.

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November garden jobs

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Protect plants

Such as tree ferns, banana trees and figs from the cold with horticultural fleece and straw. Alpines, including thymes, may need a cloche to protect them from wet.

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Feed the birds

Put out water and choose a good quality food mix. Regularly clean and disinfect feeders to keep birds healthy.

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Help hedgehogs hibernate

By creating a log pile, installing a hedgehog house and leaving a ‘messy’ area for our slug eating friends.

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Plant garlic

Put in bulbs now and by July you’ll have your own harvest. Try Solent Wight, which keeps well.

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Take hardwood cuttings

An easy way to propagate trees and shrubs. Cornus, forsythia, philadelphus and roses all take well.

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