Seasonal differences in a garden is a natural process, but there are certain things that can to be done to make sure your garden looks the best it can no matter what time of year it is. Here are some top tips on how give your garden a winter MOT.
Watch for Winter Frost
As we approach the shortest day of the year in December with the need to keep warm when outside, some of your plants may also need to be kept warm. Check your winter protection regularly to make sure frost isn’t biting tender plants. Horticultural fleece is the best for protecting plants as it allows air to circulate, keeping the plant warmer than the air outside and prevents frost from damaging leaves or delicate stems. If you have a greenhouse, make sure the heater is working. If you don’t have an electric source in your greenhouse, insulating material such as bubble wrap works well.
Putting the Garden to Bed
Now that the main growing season has passed, herbaceous perennials can begin to look very untidy and lacklustre, after all most plants shut down completely in winter. It’s a good time of year to give all your perennials a cut back ready for fresh growth next Spring. Markers and labels will remind you where they are and stop you panicking that you’ve lost your favourite plant. Over the winter when the ground generally becomes saturated, try to work on boards or an old doormat so that you do not compact the soil too much with your feet, especially on clay soils. Compaction can cause issues with drainage and plant health so best to avoid this where you can.
Winter Planning – Preparing for Next Year’s Garden
A good garden activity when its cooler outside is to clean all your old pots and seed trays in your greenhouse, garage or garden shed, so that they are ready for next Spring. Thorough cleaning will reduce any issues with pests and diseases and will also reduce your propagation and sowing problems.
It is common to find growths such as algae, lichens, liverworts and moss growing on hard surfaces. Contrary to popular belief, they do not damage surfaces they grow on, but can cause patios, drives, paths and steps to become slippery especially when its wet or frosty! A good hard brush and a jet wash will remove most of the moss and algae, just be careful to do this on a day where it’s not going to freeze over again.
When plants and shrubs begin to lose their leaves, we tend to think that the flowering season is over and the only way we can get colour back into our garden is with seasonal pots. But there are some incredible flowering shrubs such as Witch Hazel, Winter Sweet, Viburnum ‘Dawn’ and Dwarf Sweet Box that perform in the winter and they are often the brightest flowering and should be a staple for any garden!
For additional advice on getting the garden ready for winter call us now on 0116 210 0760