What I’m Really Doing in my Garden in November

Tulips and grape hyacinths are two of my favorite bulbs

by Gardening Coach Susan Harris

Here’s my monthly garden-coaching article about what a low-maintenance gardener (ME) really does, and still has a garden she’s thrilled to look at.   So it isn’t the 30+ things I might do, or Martha Stewart (and her staff) definitely do, but the short list of things I’m really doing (and one I hope to get to).

  • I’ve planted tulips, daffodils, crocuses and muscari, but I’m wondering – do I have enough?  (December isn’t too late for planting them, ya know.)
  • It’s still a great time to plant or move trees and shrubs and I’ve moved a few hydrangeas and viburnums this month.
  • I’m moving  perennials as needed to satisfy my semi-compulsion to tweak my garden’s design.  (True confession.)
  • I’ll keep watering if we see a dry period before it freezes.  Evergreens are particularly vulnerable to winter damage if they’re not adequately watered in the fall and I love my evergreens.
  • Although fall is NOT for pruning, it’s okay to remove dead, damaged, diseased wood in trees and shrubs, and I’m doing a bit of that.
  • I even potted up some paperwhites!  And hope to pick up an amaryllis or two for color later.
  • Leaf removal is, of course, THE November job, and I’ve written plenty about that already.  Whether or not to remove dead leaves is discussed here.  And then if you DO remove them, do you chop, compost, let your city compost them for you?  In my garden, the droppings from about 50 trees have already been dumped on the compost pile or will be by the end of the month.
  • And I’m spraying for deer.  Yep, in the last two years they’ve arrived in my garden.   At first I managed a Zenlike acceptance, cheerfully giving away the hostas and moving the hydrangeas to safer spots, but those days are over.   Bambi went after one of my favorite and most expensive plants – the gorgeous dwarf white pine – and I’m packing Liquid Fence  from now on.  And if that doesn’t work, I’ll try something else (Plantskyd has also been recommended to me.)

It's been years since my Felco #2 pruners looked this clean and sharp.

What I should do?

Clean and sharpen my tools.   It’s my least favorite chore but jeez, it’s been two years now and my pruners hardly function at all, so it’s not exactly optional anymore.

Photo credits:  tulip, grape hyacinth.

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