November is a time of change in the garden, as it's colours begin to fade, and it becomes a little less productive than it was in late summer. However, there is plenty to get on with to prepare for next year.

This month we will be cutting back and tidying remaining borders, leaving some seed heads where possible both for use by the florists but also to provide food and shelter for wildlife.

We will also be lifting the dahlias and conserving them for use next year. We will dig them up after the tops have been frosted, having cut them down to 15cm before lifting. The surplus soil is then knocked off with a small piece of stick, and loose soil is carefully scooped out from between the tubers. It is important not to get the tubers wet so the soil should never be washed off with water. Once the soil is removed, we leave the tubers to dry for a few weeks, hanging them upside down from sheets of wire mesh, in a cool, frost-free environment. The tubers can also be dusted with yellow sulphur to discourage mould and mildew. In late winter, the tubers are then planted up and we take cuttings from the new shoots which then become our new plants for planting out the same year.

We are also busy in the glasshouses within the Kitchen Garden sowing cut-and-come again salads and herbs as well as pea tips for use throughout winter. We continue to harvest chrysanthemums and the last of the dahlias, whilst amongst the perennials still flowering this month are schizostylis and nerines.

Throughout the garden, we are planting the last of the autumn bulbs such as tulips and hyacinths. We are also planting various bulbs for forcing so that we can use them for decoration at Christmas and in the New Year.

Horticultural Technician

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