Guest column: November is the time to get the garden ready for winter

Start putting food out for winter birds to encourage them to your garden
Start putting food out for winter birds to encourage them to your garden

November is all about compost and getting everything ready for winter

Clearing leaves and cutting back dead growth is top of the agenda – which is great news because leaves and garden debris are perfect ingredients for homemade compost.

It’s also a great month for planting trees and shrubs and good planting needs good mulch.

With more autumn leaves around than a standard compost bin can deal with

you have the perfect material to hand.

Leaves don’t need the heat of a compost to rot down - you can compost them by filling up bags with leaves to make really good garden mulch.

The best way is to fill biodegradable sacks, then place them somewhere in the

garden where they will be rained on - and wait.

Come next spring, you will have a bag full of nutritious leaf mould compost.

If you’re planning to plant trees in the garden then do it now whilst you can still position them in wet and dry land and before the ground gets too hard or frozen.

They can tolerate acidic, chalky, sandy and clay soils and come in all shapes and sizes.

From flowering cherries and crab apples to evergreen yews and weeping willows trees offer different leaf size, shape and colour.

Many have attractive flowers, fruits and seeds and there are those that flower magnificently in spring and those whose leaves offer brilliant autumn colour just before leaf fall.

Trees can add structure to the landscape and garden and some make excellent hedges and screens whilst others are ideal as statement specimens.

By planting trees you can reduce or improve your carbon footprint and generally enhance the environment.

Trees act as nesting sites, song perches and display sites for birds and numerous

species of insects are totally dependent on trees.

They also provide areas of shelter and shade that means you can plant native wildflowers that would typically be found in woodlands.

As the first winter frosts arrive, there are still a few jobs to be done before bedding the garden down for winter

Clear up fallen leaves - especially from lawns, ponds and beds and raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging.

Plant tulip bulbs for a spring display next year and the winter bedding plants.

Prune roses to prevent wind-rock and insulate outdoor containers and delicate plants from frost.

Bubblewrap works well for this, or use horticultural fleece available from most garden centres.

Finally, put out bird food to encourage winter birds into the garden.