For most people, the garden goes literally and figuratively on ice over the winter period – a combination of freezing temperatures and feeble daylight making it hardly the best conditions for veg to grow, or to partake manual work.
However, where the casuals put down their tools, the green-fingered among us know that it is a time rife with opportunity. The winter provides a great chance to have your garden in optimal condition by the time spring rolls around, and you get to enjoy fresh air, wildlife, and reap the rewards in the meantime!
Your garden’s summer prime is now a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean it has to be consigned to a life of greys and browns this winter. Crisp, sunny winter mornings are the perfect setting for colourful winter bloomers, providing welcome splashes of brightness and variety.
We recommend winter flowering varieties such as cyclamen, pansy, polyanthus, and winter-flowering daphne – but make sure you plant in frost-resistant pots to avoid disappointment.
Now is an ideal time to use your compost left over from the previous summer. It’s important to keep compost safely stored and off the floor, to ensure that moisture and microorganisms can’t contaminate the mixture.
However, if you have some opened bags, this has likely already happened to some extent and this compost is no longer usable come the spring.
So rather than wasting it, use it to work into the soil now, to rejuvenate and revitalise your soil so that by the time the warm weather arrives, it’s bursting with minerals and nutrients to ensure your garden grows big and strong.
Pruning, cutting, and maintaining
This period of low garden activity is a great time to sure up your flowers, making sure they’re in the best possible shape once the warmth returns.
This includes things like cutting back perennials, treating any infections such us applying fungicide to roses, and keeping those tender plants safe and warm with a horticultural fleece or something similar.
Make sure that your garden furniture is safely stored away at this time of year, as it’s best practice for ensuring it’s still in tip-top condition once the spring arrives. If you don’t have the storage space, you can invest in breathable covers to provide the next best level of protection.
Use this time to take a step back and evaluate the feng-shui of your garden, and envision wherein your garden you want to be hosting your family and friends in the coming summer.
This can act as a point of reference for where you want your pots, borders and shrubs to be, in relation to the perspective you’ll have from where your furniture is set up.
Look after your lawn
At this time of year, the lawn is generally of very low maintenance, but there is still plenty that you can do to optimise its health ahead of the warmer seasons. Grass still grows in the cold, but at a much slower rate above ground – underground is where the action happens, as energy is invested into growing the root system.
You can aid in this process by raking out moss, leaves and other debris to ensure the surface can breathe. An occasional trim on a low lawn-mower setting will keep the grass itself in check, while you can help further by scattering a small amount of lawn feed to bolster its strength.
The Ashfield Partnership believes in sustainable and connected living
The garden is a place of huge potential in this regard, and we’re happy to share some of our best tips so you can reap the rewards.