Winter and winter gardening – expert top tips for the best outdoor tasks to carry out over the coming weeks
As the temperature tumbles and our gardens start to look bare and wintery, many of us decide we would rather wait until the spring to tidy up our outside space.
But, says TV plantsman and horticulturalist Michael Perry (aka Mr Plant Geek), there’s no time like the present….
Here are Michael’s top 10 winter gardening tips:
1. The winter is the perfect time to add plants to your garden, particularly in bare root form – when they’re dormant. You can buy a wide range of bare root fruit trees and perennials, which establish much more easily than potted plants do in the warmer months.
2. Don’t neglect your winter containers – you can use a range of colourful plants, such as hellebores, primroses and pansies, to add as much colour to your front garden, balcony or patio as you would in the height of the summer.
3. Before it gets too cold, mulch your plants with fresh compost, leaf mould or bark – this will keep the moisture locked in and start to nourish the soil. Plus, in the warmer months, it will also prevent any weeds from coming through!
4. It’s always a good idea to leave the seed heads on your plants through the autumn – as they have a great architecture and provide homes to insects. However, if they start to break down, it’s best to clear them from the surface of the soil, as they could spread bacteria.
5. You might find that the quieter days in winter are the perfect time to clean up your garden or balcony – by pressure-washing surfaces and clearing areas that you haven’t got around to.
6. If you’re doing a big garden tidy up, pruning dormant shrubs and clearing away dead seeds or plants. Try using a Hippobag for practicality as you can even add soil to it, and it will be collected for recycling.
7. Any waterlogged lawns can be aerated by using the tines of a fork – try to avoid walking on the lawn too often during the winter as it needs its rest.
8. If you do want to add some instant colour to your borders this winter – then reach for evergreen shrubs. There are so many available in all sorts of different colours and shades.
9. Take time to do some forward planning – use the quieter, winter months to plan your perfect summer garden. Order bulbs, seeds and young plants and think about your borders ahead of time, making them fuller and longer lasting.
10. Make sure your garden is wildlife friendly – as visiting creatures need you most during the winter months! Top up your bird baths and leave out a full supply of tasty foods like fat balls and mealworms.