In the other gardens and all up the vale,

From the autumn bonfires see the smoke trail! Pleasant summer over and all the summer flowers, the red fire blazes,

The grey smoke towers. Sing a song of seasons. Something bright in all! Flowers in the summer, Fires in the fall!  

Robert Louis Stevenson

By Gordon the Gardener

It’s November and there’s plenty of tidying up to be doing in the garden.

Bonfire weekend is an appropriate time to burn garden waste, dahlia tops and other vegetation that may harbour pest and diseases.

Rake off fallen leaves from regularly mown lawns and compost them, aerate with a fork before brushing in sharp sand to improve drainage.

Put netting over fish ponds to prevent fallen leaves sinking to the bottom, causing gases and killing fish.

Leaves can be raked up and composted. They can also be raked on to the soil in between shrubs where the worms will pull them down – thus increasing the biodiversity providing winter food for our friends, the birds. Fertility of the soil will also be improved.

Freddy Hedgehog will use leaves inside his winter nest. Note: Please check for the hogs, before lighting your fire.

Tulip bulbs can now be planted, if planting between spring flowering plants such as polyanthus and wallflowers.

Time for tulips

These can still be planted from pot grow but if planting bare rooted wallflowers, soak the roots in a bucket of water overnight to freshen up to give them a good start.

I like to minimise disturbance by planting tulips or narcissus with a big dibber, by simply dibbing a hole, twice the depth of the bulb and popping the bulb in and covering up with the soil.

There are late autumn flower shows to brighten our days. One to be recommended is the late flower show of the National Chrysanthemum Society held at Markham, Longlands Lane, Doncaster DN5 7XB. It takes place on November 19, 20 and 21.

Any plants which are considered tender can be wrapped round with fleece. Special protective covers can sometimes be had. I purchased some from one of the budget supermarkets.

The golden autumn did come as right to the end of October there was no frost, and it was quite dry, which all helped our flowers in the fall.

READ MORE: Gordon the Gardener’s month-by-month guide to caring for your plot