Preparing Your Garden For Winter
Getting your Garden ready for winter
Now is the time of year when the garden is beginning to wind down with the colder weather and shorter days. Traditionally, the garden would be put to bed over the Winter months, with only the bare minimum being done in the garden.
Now we are more aware of the benefits of leaving seed heads and flower heads for wildlife and for adding architectural structure to the winter garden.
More people understand the importance of helping garden wildlife. Leaving on seed heads and berries will help provide nutrition to birds and small insects and bugs. Not all wildlife can be seen in your garden, but many ladybirds and solitary bees hibernate during the Winter. So leaving wood piles, sticks and clippings in piles in a safe quite place will benefit them all.
It's about finding the balance, ensuring your garden isn’t messy and untidy, but tidy enough without removing insect habitats or making borders look bare and empty
Leave on Seed heads
Seed heads may not look as beautiful as a flower in bloom, but they can still look decorative in the winter garden. If you grew Helenium’s or Sunflowers leave the seed heads on as they will look great covered in frost, plus the smaller birds and bugs will love them as food. Leave on rose hips and any berries as well as the birds will also like those, and grass seed heads as they also add interest to the garden. Hydrangea heads can be left on, then picked and dried out for use in jars of vases indoors.
Lift some plants
As much as we would love to be able to leave all the plants in our gardens for winter for decoration and to feed the birds. Some plants do need lifting in Autumn because they will not survive the Winter with the cold and wet weather.
Tender varieties, such as Dahlias need to overwinter in a cool but frost-free place. Start, by digging them up, cutting the stems back to 5-10cm and removing as much soil as possible from the roots.
Next, they should be stored in a moist pot which is out of direct sunlight. Remember, they need air around them, so keep an eye on them for rotting or any mould.
We love to Mulch!
Mulching is one of the most important jobs to do for Winter in your garden. It will help to stop the weeds, improve soil structure and protect plant roots from cold temperatures.
If you have a half-hardy plant, add a thick layer of mulch, about 10cm should do the trick. If it is a hardier variety, add a 5cm layer . Remember to not apply mulch directly onto stems, as they may get damp and rot, you are covering the crown of your plants.
Late Autumn and early Winter is a good time to dig out perennial weeds. It's important to get as much of the root system as possible to ensure it weakens over Winter.
If it helps water the soil first to loosen the roots, especially with weeds like Dandelions.
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