The days are now colder and darker, and some plants in your garden will definitely need some extra help to survive the winter.
Just because this is the case, it doesn’t mean you should stop planting and tending to your garden. There are lots of jobs that can be done and it’s the perfect time to give you garden a spruce up.
Here is how I recommend you prepare your garden for winter and gardening jobs for autumn that you should be doing before the frosts start to kick in.
10 ways to prepare your garden for winter
1. Spruce up your green house
If you have a greenhouse, now is the perfect time to prepare that for winter. Firstly, you need to move any shade to ensure your greenhouse is getting maximum sun. I like to give my greenhouse a good spring clean around autumn too. Sweep out any debris, wash out any unused pots and give the sides and surfaces a wipe down. You could also insulate your greenhouse.
2. Lawn maintenance
Autumn is a great time to revitalise your lawn. Clean up any moss, leaves and old, cut grass using a rake, I’d recommend a springbok rake that will really pick everything up. If your soil or grass is wet, and is prone to getting boggy, use a garden fork and penetrate some holes throughout the lawn to help the water drain and soil breathe. Also, give your lawn a feed with Autumn lawn food that is available at garden centres.
3. Welcome wildlife
Prepare your garden for any wildlife that may visit over the colder months or ned a place to hibernate. I like to put out a hedgehog house, insect log pile, and welcome birds, frogs and toads. Don’t try to make the garden too tidy, especially in the corners or under shrubbery, as you could end up removing valuable shelters or mess that animals love! You can also bury a pot on its side half into the soil so it makes a small hibernation hat for amphibians, fill with leaves for bedding.
4. Look after your garden equipment
You probably won’t be using much of your garden equipment over the winter, so it’s a good time to have it all serviced and sharpened ready for next year (you’ll be grateful you did it next spring!) Send your lawn mower, strimmer or any other large equipment like this for a service and then give all your other tools like shears, spades and forks a good wash, sharpen and oil.
5. Prepare trees
If you have recently planted any trees that are still quite small, you can protect them from animals over the winter by wrapping the trunk with a mesh or rabbit guard plastic casing. Also use a sturdy stake and tie to protect it from strong winter gales.
6. Plant evergreens
To maintain some colour in your garden over the winter, autumn is the perfect time to plant some evergreens. The mild soil and cool conditions ensure that shrubs such as viburnum Tinus or mahonia flourish particularly well so will beautiful conifers.
7. Move your plants
Now is the time to divide any overcrowded plants, especially perennials that have been getting quite big, and move any plants that will struggle in the cold to pots and containers to place in your greenhouse or porch. It’s also a good time to plant beds with spring-flowering bulbs.
Autumn is a good time to prune your flowering plants. They prefer to be cut back and deadheaded while dormant, this then gives your flower plants a great chance when the weather picks up a bit next season. I’d also recommend pruning your deciduous and evergreen trees towards the end of autumn by removing any dead or damaged branches.
9. Birds in garden
Please remember to supply garden birds with both a regular feeding and fresh water. Why not make some bird fat balls to keep them happy? You can also put up nesting boxes to weather in ready for next spring.
10. Flower colour
There are many plants in flower over the winter period. Bedding plants such as cyclamen, primulas and polyanthus, winter flowering violas and pansies. Also shrubs like winter sweet, witch hazel and skimmia rubella can brighten up your borders baskets and tubs.
By taking the time to do these things, you will give your garden a much easier transition into the winter and give you clean tidy and colourful garden.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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