The main thing to do this month is curl up in front of a roaring wood stove with your seed catalogues and old gardening magazines and plan your projects for the spring. I always try to make a list of things I want to do, otherwise I find lots of inspiration and good ideas and forget them by the spring!
Protecting Plants from the cold
Do this with some urgency now if you have not yet finished. Fleece is reasonably priced, effective and easy to use, just wrap it around any plants which need protecting. To make this easier each year I have cut and sown mine into shapes like pillowcases which I can then just pop over the plant and tie at the bottom.
Any mild days I continue tidying borders as it is amazing how many weeds seem to grow steadily throughout the winter.
Now that you have tidied all your borders add compost wherever you see bare earth. During the winter worms will drag this into the soil ready for your plants to take advantage of in the spring.
During mild spells you can continue continue to divide perennials. Congested clumps need dividing in order to encourage plenty of flowering next year and of course dividing is one of the best ways to increase your stocks of plants.
To divide, dig up the whole clump, and divide into smaller pieces. Either tease the clump apart or cut using a spade. Replant in groups of three or five for good displays the following year. Kniphofias, irises, asters and heleniums all work well for division.
Plant new shrubs and trees
Now is a good time to plant trees and shrubs to give them time to develop strong root systems before the dry summers but do not plant if frosts are expected.
To plant new plants (see things to do in october)
Prune your shrubs
Now is a good time to prune most shrubs, to take out the old wood, aerate the centre of your bushes and maintain a graceful shape. If you have a shredder the prunings can be shredded to make a very good mulch for the garden.
What to do in the garden next month