Gardening

These are the garden tasks to complete this November

Gardens to see, how to give your garden a summer boost and the best flowers to find at garden centres this month. Check these garden tasks off in November 

These are the garden tasks to complete this November

Fed up with buying stuff for Christmas presents that will only end up as landfill within a few months? Head down to the garden centre this November and grab some smallish flowering plants or herbs instead. Repot them into larger, attractive containers, keep them watered and they’ll be looking fab in time for holiday season.

There are plenty of gardens to see this month with festivals all around the country, including in Tauranga, Taranaki and Waiheke Island. If you’re keen on garden art, don’t miss the fabulous NZ Sculpture OnShore on Auckland’s North Shore.

November gardening checklist

+ Energise and nourish your garden for its spring/summer growth spurt by spreading organic matter (homemade compost, sheep pellets and other animal manure, seaweed, etc) around trees, hedges, shrubs and other plants, then cover with mulch. Liquid-feed container plants, too.

+ Once frosts are over, it’s time to prune winter or early spring flowering shrubs such as camellias, rhododendrons and daphnes. Gently thin out the canopy and tidy up the shape of the plant by removing frost-damaged, old and diseased branches or those rubbing against each other (which will encourage diseases).

+ Don’t let weeds rob your plants of precious nutrients and water. Pull them out while small and cover bare areas with mulch. If you allow weeds to mature and set flowers, they can produce thousands of seeds that can remain viable for long periods, germinating when conditions are right.

+ Many gardeners use irrigation systems for containers these days but be sure to move them to a shady spot when the warm weather arrives. Adding water crystals to potting mix will stop it drying out too fast – a good idea for plants that aren’t drought tolerant.

+ Treat yourself to some colour while you’re at the garden centre. Filling hanging baskets and planters with flowering annuals such as Alyssum, Calendula, Lobelia, Zinnia, petunia and marigold will give your outdoor spaces an amazing lift. For an eye-catching effect, buy several plants of the same species and colour, then repot in 3-5 containers of the same material. Place on decks and steps where they can wow visitors (and bees).

+ Christmas lilies: the deliciously fragrant trumpet-shaped blooms of either Lilium regale or L. longiflorum are a real favourite at this time of year, particularly with florists. To give your house a festive flavour in the weeks leading up to Christmas, buy potted blooms ready to flower and place them in containers outside. Don’t forget some lily flowers for the house too. Snipping the tops off stamens will ensure the bright yellow pollen doesn’t stain clothes and tablecloths. Leave some stem and leaves when cutting lily flowers – like all bulbs, they build energy for next season’s flowering through their foliage. Plant lilies where their tops will receive sun but bulbs won’t dry out.

Words by: Carol Bucknell.

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