Caring for your garden during the winter months

Posted on Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Before the winter

Have a tidy up now the summer’s over, but don’t tidy too well, leave some seed heads as a focal point and to feed our feathered friends, also, leave the odd pile of twigs or leaves for the wildlife too.   

Before the winter is upon us and the colder weather sets in, dig up and divide your herbaceous perennials if you haven’t already, and plant additional spring bulbs for added impact next year.

Now’s the time to amend your planting plans for next year, consider what’s working and what’s not; and move them accordingly. If you have a flower bed that’s in the wrong position or the wrong size or shape, now’s the time to amend it.

Problem places?

Thinking of introducing new plants into your planting schemes? Then, look around to see which plants are growing well in your neighbour’s gardens and the surrounding area; and take a leaf out of their books. Choose what works well with your soil, weather conditions and aspect, rather than struggling to grow what doesn’t; plus there’s lots of advice online about plants for problem areas too.

Mulch magic

Also, before the ground becomes cold, apply a mulch, this is best done in Autumn, before the temperatures drop and there is a frost on the ground, thereby protecting your plants.  Leaf mould, garden compost or wood chippings all make good mulches.       

Structure is significant

Now’s also a good time to give thought to the structures in your garden –  are there any that need mending or replacing – or new ones that’s you’d like to introduce. See to these structural elements now, and they’ll be ready for when your garden spurs into life early next year.    

Create a compost area

If you haven’t done so already, create a compost area, so as you are tidying up your garden you can put the autumn leaves and other garden debris to good use. Then in the future, you’ll be able to use the fruits of your labour to nourish your garden and help your flowers grow.

Keep active

For those of us who like to keep our hands dirty over the winter, there are a plenty of plants to sow in October to harvest over the winter and early spring.  Lambs lettuce can be sown now to enjoy right up until December, while Lettuce Meraviglia D’Inverno S.Martino and Winter Gem should manage in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse; and you can sow the latter right up until January. 

The magic of winter colour

Remember, you needn’t be without colour or scent in your winter garden; there are plenty of winter flowering shrubs you can introduce like Lonicera fragrantissima, Sarcococca confusa, Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ or Clematis urophylla ‘Winter Beauty’.

For a display with fiery colours try the flame-coloured stems of Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ or the blossoms of Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Jelena’. Also, under plant your deciduous trees with swathes of winter flowering bulbs like  Winter Aconite.

Your tools

Give your tools a little TLC, clean and sharpen them, so you’re all set for the spring, and have your mower serviced so it’s in tip-top condition for the first cut next year.

So there you have a few ideas for how to care for your garden over the winter months so that it will look magnificent next spring.