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Winter proof your garden

POSTED ON 08 NOVEMBER 2017

We’ve spent all summer looking after our gardens but winter is usually the time we let them fend for themselves. But fear not; here we give you some top tips to help ensure your garden gets the attention it deserves this winter

There are many ways to help prep our gardens and spending a little longer on them before the weather turns cold will help ensure it looks its best when it comes to the spring and summer months.

Lawn

Autumn is the perfect time to revitalise your lawn if it’s looking rather dull and untidy. Remove any old grass clippings and moss to allow your lawn to breathe and grow freely. You should either rake or scarify which will thin the lawn leaving the soil exposed in some places making an ideal seed bed. Avoid any shaded areas as these will naturally thin over the winter months anyway. Autumn is also a great time to lay any new turf allowing it plenty of time to become established before the summer months.

Bulbs

Before winter well and truly kicks in you should plant any spring bulbs. Snowdrops, crocus and daffodils all enjoy well fertilised free draining soil. Ensure you add in lots of sharp sand and some bone meal, which will release nutrients and feed into the bulbs over time. Remember, when planting bulbs you should plant two or three times the depth of the bulb itself, it also works well in terms of the width too. Finally, for a more dramatic effect you can plant the same variety of bulbs in large amounts or drifts.

Protection

Ideally you should move any pots planted with tender species into a conservatory or greenhouse for protection over winter. These include; cannas, agapanthus and palms. You should also wrap horticultural fleece around the trunks of any palm trees which are planted in the ground along with a thick mulch of bark around the base; this will help protect them from any frost.

Greenery

Just because it’s cold and dull outside it doesn’t mean your garden has to mirror this. Your winter garden can still be interesting and exciting. Try incorporating some evergreen shrubs like Phormium tenax to add structure and Cornus sanguniea (Midwinter Fire) which have gorgeous flame-coloured stems.

Shrubs and trees

Prune any branches on shrubs to improve the overall shape and give your hedges a final trim before any frost appears. Remove any dead and damaged branches which will prevent stems from rubbing together.

Paths and paving

Clean any leaves and debris from all paths, it’s much easier to do this whilst it’s dry. It might also be worth cleaning your paths with a stiff brush and soapy water as it will be less slippery in the winter months and will remove any mildew and algae.

Garden equipment maintenance

Before locking your tools and equipment away for the winter you should sharpen and clean them for the following months ahead. Ensure that all of your tools have been dried thoroughly and oiled to prevent any rust. You may also consider sending your lawn mower in for a service to ensure it’s in perfect condition in spring.

Borders and structures

Cut back any herbaceous perennials in the borders and remove any dead foliage, leaves and weeds. After this you can repair any structures that may be needed. Focus on any decaying timber, pest infestations, fencing and the greenhouse or summer house.

Garden furniture 

Cover up any garden furniture that you won’t be using during the colder months to prevent any damage and rust. If you have a garden shed or garage then ideally store them away, meaning they will be fresh and clean.

Compost bins

Autumn is usually the time when you clear out your vegetable plots which generates plant material for the compost heap. Use last year’s compost around the garden and make room for this seasons waste. It’s okay if it’s not yet quite ready to use, you should just turn it improving the decomposition.

Winter Wildlife 

Give the animals a helping hand by making your garden wildlife friendly. Place bird feeders around the gardens at different levels as squirrels and other animals may enjoy these treats too. Don’t deadhead all of your plants just yet, leave the seed heads on for wildlife to nibble at during the cold months. Hedge hogs also appreciate some shelter when the weather gets cold, you could either buy a ready-made shelter or create one with different containers.

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