Taking Care of Your Winter Garden

 

The winter months when everything in the garden has died down and the relentless pace of the growing season is over, is the best time to get ready for the year ahead. While your perennials take a well-earned rest, and your trees are deep in slumber, winter is the time for gardeners to plan and assess both the year just gone, and the year ahead.

 

Plan and Assess

Use the colder months to work out what went well and what didn’t. Begin your spring planning, start off any cuttings indoors so you have good growth when you come to plant out. It’s a good idea to make plans during winter when you can see everything once it’s died back – you can see the spaces you need to fill and it’s often easier to see pattern, shape, and form during the dormant season too.

 

Clearing Up

Winter is the best time to make sure any garden waste or fallen leaves are cleared up. Ideally, make yourself a leaf composter if you are sure the leaves are free from disease. If you suspect any disease, fungal spores or insect infestation, make sure you get rid of the offending material by burning it (if this allowed in your area), by using any council resources like green bins, or the municipal tip.

 

Protect

Make sure you know which plants you can leave out, which need a little shelter, and which need to be brought inside for the winter months. You can lift tender plants like begonias and pelargoniums and keep them in pots until they’re ready to go back outside come the spring. Because plants like these have tubers, rhizomes, or corms, they can survive the winter in a semi-dormant state once lifted.

 

Garden Maintenance

Now is the time to get to the jobs you’ve been putting off all summer. Sort out the patio, clean your greenhouse and do give your garden tools a little TLC. Jet wash the patio and any statues or garden ornaments, clean out the gutters and give the place a general tidy up. You’ll be glad you did come the summer.

 

Prune

Now is the time to get to grips with any overgrown perennials you know need to be cut back. Not everything can be pruned during the winter but rose shrubs, fruit trees and certain hedges all benefit from a winter trim. Knowing what to prune and when, can be quite a feat of memory so make sure you stick a free printable in your shed to help you out. Just remember the old rule of thumb: never prune back more than one third of a plant at any one time.

 

Lawn Care

During a warmer winter, you will notice that your lawn continues to grow over the colder months. As long as it’s dry, lawns really benefit from a mow but make sure you do so with high blades to protect the more vulnerable grass.

So, just as we like to use the winter to make new resolutions for ourselves come January, the long cold winter months are the perfect time to put your garden to rest, and to make exciting plans for the busy growing season ahead.