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November

Greenfinch and siskin on feeder

Finches can spend a long time at feeders at this time of year

Image: Chris Gomersall

The gentle sunlight of autumn can often produce soft, golden colours as the foliage on shrubs and trees such as acers, berberis and witch hazels turns from green through to orange and red.

The berries in your garden are a feast for birds, while song thrushes and blackbirds become more noticeable, venturing onto lawns searching for worms and fallen fruit. Small flocks of greenfinches can be a common sight at birdtables, sometimes queuing up with chaffinches and sparrows to take a turn at feeders.

At this time of year, traditional countryside hedges are full of blackberries, elderberries, rosehips, haws and sloes

At this time of year, traditional countryside hedges are full of blackberries, elderberries, rosehips, haws and sloes, forming a supply of food for birds through the winter. You can mimic the traditional hedgerow in your own garden by planting a fruiting hedge.

For example, you could mix native roses, elder and hawthorn to act as a wild foodstore, even adding a gooseberry or bramble if you have room. If you have a large garden, try growing hazel (Corylus avellana) for its nuts and attractive catkins.

This is a good time for planting all trees and shrubs, as well as hedges, to give them plenty of time to get established before winter. If you have room in the garden, you might like to plan a mini-woodland or new shrub border to attract birds all year. Container-grown plants can be planted at any time of year, but you can save money at this time of year by opting for bare-rooted hedging, or root-balled trees and shrubs.

Jobs for the month

  • Plant bare-root and balled shrubs and trees
  • Move shrubs if necessary
  • Prepare new areas for planting 
  • Plant hedges
  • Plant soft fruit
  • Take hardwood cuttings 
  • Make leaf mould
  • Finish planting spring bulbs
  • Pick apples
  • Dont burn garden waste but compost it instead.
  • Check carefully for hedgehogs before having a bonfire
  • Put up nestboxes
  • Prune soft fruit such as currants, raspberries and gooseberries
  • Pot up some herbs for use in the winter    

How you can help

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