November UK Gardening Advice – Please…?

Chef Nebula asks: November UK Gardening Advice – Please…?
Gardening Help Please – November time?
Hi All, I am for the first time ever attempting to start making my garden look nice. I have dug up the bits that i want to turn to flower beds, and i now want to start planting.

I think i am alright with one of my flower beds, just following the basic advice that is on-line, but I am also looking for more specific advice.

I have an area i want to plant in, that is in a shady area of the garden, under some trees – is there any flowers, fruits herbs, or vegetabls i can plant here, and if so what to plant now and what at other times.

I also have dug out a section in the garden that gets very wet on rainy days. Same question for planting here please.

Lastky I have some horrible sections of wall I want to plant something to overhang it so it can not be seen, any nice sugestions for that?

I know i am going to make lots of mistakes along the way, but thats how you learn, however if there is anyone greenfingered on here who can give me a headstart I would appreciate.

Thanks to all who answer..

The answer voted best is:

Answer by Boris
If you are living in England, now is really not the time to plant anything – except bulbs. Okay, you could plant a shrub or two, but most things are dormant now. Wait until the spring. But in the meantime, just turn the soil over, add some manure, if you have any, and just leave it. In the spring, and for the rest of the summer, go to a garden centre once a month, and buy whatever is in flower. That way, you will always have something in flower in your garden.

For your ugly wall, try a climbing hydreangea, or a climbing or bush rose. For your shady area try some while bulbs for spring and ferns for summer.


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  1. Yes, not the right time for most plants. Hostias good in shade, and Irises in wet patch.

  2. You mention vegetables. I have just planted my Japanese onion sets. Although it is beginning to get a bit late the soil is still warm and they should be ok. However very few vegetables will flourish in shade. I am also about to put in my broad beans. Make sure you get Aquadulce as this is by far the best variety for an autumn sowing.

  3. Shady area, shrubs: sarcococca humilis, winter flowering sweet smelling. Fatsia japonica, achitecural shiny lime green large leaves and Buxus sempervirens (box) used in a variety of different toparied shapes. Perenials: Bergenia (elephants ears), Hostas (the bigger the leaf the more they like the shade), Helleborus (any variety), Digitalis (foxgloves), Epimedium, Tiarella, Dryopteris affins (fern)

    Wet area: Crocosmia ‘lucifer’, Astrantia, Calmagrostis ‘Karl Foster’, Hostas, Irises, lobelia cardinalis, Molinia, Persicaria ‘firetail’, Primula, Sanguisorba menziesii, Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ (perenial sun flower) and Matteuccia (shuttlecock fern). All of these will take it wet and dont mind if it drys out a bit to.

    for the wall i would reccomend Hydrangea petiolaris.

  4. For colour this time of year, its winter flowering pansy,s cheap and cheer full, and winter heather,s. You can also use leaf colour but ask are they evergreen buy from plant nurseries or garden centres, they should know what they are selling and help you. You cant buy plants from inside in heat and plant outside in the cold. happy planting

  5. Herbs and veg both prefer full sun. You might manage alpine strawberries as a border if it gets sun for part of the day.

    Astilbe is a perennial with tall feathery flowers in shades of cream through to deep red that likes damp soil. Be careful with irises as some like damp and others don’t – check with the nursery. All the “bleeding hearts”, the Dicentras, will grow in light shade. Dicentra Spectabilis is lovely in late Spring – little pink hearts hanging on graceful stems. There are other smaller ones such as Adrian Bloom with feathery leaves and deep pink flowers. The leaves usually disappear towards midsummer, so remember or mark where they are, as they will come again next year.

    The lungworts, or Pulmonarias are excellent in shade and flower about the same time as daffodils. There are some beautiful deep blue ones, and others with decorative spotted leaves.
    For cheerful colour all the year round under your trees try the little evergreen shrub euonymus fortunii Emerald ‘n Gold, easily clipped to keep the size you want. There are also several silver and green ones, Emerald Gaiety is one. These will still look nice when there are fewer flowers in the summer,when the leaves on the trees make the shade too dense
    Put in lots of daffodils and perhaps some English bluebells. Snowdrops may be happy – they are unpredictable but when they like a spot they spread rapidly. they are best planted “in the green”, which means you should get them in pots when flowering or just after.
    If you grow hostas make sure you look out for slugs, as they seem to be a favourite food for them.

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