Outdoor diary: November

As the days heat up, don’t forget to water your plants regularly and you will be well rewarded. Read on for more of gardens editor Carol Bucknell’s top tips


Stop the snail trail

Another good reason to water in the morning is that snails and slugs love damp soil when they move about in the evening. Try to keep the ground dry at night around hostas, clivia, rengarenga lilies and the other large-leafed plants that these slimy gastropods like to munch on.

Keep it fragrant

Cultivate the garden for the nose, advised Robert Louise Stevenson, meaning grow plenty of fragrant plants. To follow his sage advice, fill your garden with the divine scent of boronia, gardenia, murraya, frangipani, luculia and stephanotis in warm areas this summer. Those in colder places  could try planting choisya, heliotrope, philadelphus, roses, star jasmine, wisteria or one of the scented viburnums.

Plant a tree

It’s still not too late to plant shrubs and trees if you keep them well watered through the summer months.

Freshening indoor plants

Warm soft rain (or the shower) is great for cleaning dust off the leaves of indoor pot plants and helping to deter pests such as mealy bug and scale. Move pots outside for a few hours when it’s gently raining but don’t leave them out overnight.

Outdoor spruce-up

If you’re short on time for a summer outdoor spruce up, start by mowing lawns and trimming edges and hedges. It will keep everything looking smart until you can tackle the bigger jobs like weeding, feeding and pruning.


Roses need to be watered regularly in dry weather. Give them a good deep soak twice a week if possible. Try not to water in the evenings as this can encourage fungal disease on roses and many other plants. Early morning is the ideal time.

Gifts with a personal touch

These have so much more meaning than mass-produced store bought stuff. With Christmas coming up, now is a good time to start planting up herb baskets, pots of colourful annuals or hanging baskets to give to your nearest and dearest.

Text by: Carol Bucknell