The vibrancy of summer blooms are long gone, and although the fruits of autumn remain, as we move closer to winter’s harsh bite, it’s time to put your garden to bed for a few months. Set aside a day or two for preparing your garden for winter and put measures in place to protect the garden you’ve carefully cultivated from the ravages of frost and snow. Make your winter garden as appealing as possible for the wildlife looking for a place to hibernate safely.
A little preparation now means that, come spring 2016, your garden will be primed and ready for you to fill it with glorious colour and gorgeous accessories. Here are our five top winter gardening tasks for you to tackle over the next few weeks:
- Look after your lawn
A badly hydrated, patchy and unkempt lawn can be seriously detrimental to a garden’s wider appeal. Removing moss from your lawn using a rake will help to avoid drainage problems and diseases. If your lawn is still green, take your chance now to mow it to just two or three inches. To further encourage good drainage, aerate the entire lawn using a pitchfork and then scatter with a sandy top dressing, filling the holes you’ve just made. You can also give your turf a helping hand by fertilising in autumn, when it retains its green hue.
- Weed out the problem
A singular weed can replicate itself thousands of times over, scattering its seed across your beloved garden without restraint, so it makes sense to be as thorough as possible when removing them.
- Enrich your soil
Feeding your soil with good compost now will fill it with the nutrients and new matter that will help your plants thrive come spring. Dig your soil thoroughly, breaking it up and getting rid of large clods. Once this is done, add compost, whether homemade or shop bought, and dig deeply again to incorporate the new matter into your more tired soil.
- Help the wildlife to winter down
The birds and insects that call your garden home need to be nurtured over the winter. Plants left in situ provide a great food source for cold, hungry birds who come to feed on their seeds. Additionally, why not set up a bird table to boost the winged creatures’ calorie intake and encourage their return? You can also take other simple measures to care for local wildlife, like melting a hole in your pond’s frozen surface to provide a water source for small mammals, carefully turning over your compost to avoid killing frogs and double checking bonfires for hedgehogs.
- Get ready for spring!
Perhaps the most fun job you have as a winter gardener is planning new planting and landscaping for the next season. Now’s the time to order seeds, clear areas for new displays and do a little research on current gardening trends.
Gardening is both a commitment and a passion. During the winter months, the rewards may come less frequently and the work seems more challenging, but in the long term that dedication will pay off and your garden will become more beautiful, vibrant and varied with every winter that passes.
Sunday, 3rd January 2016