Your winter gardening to-do-list
Tidying your garden and getting it ready for winter is an important seasonal task that will help your garden flourish all year round. Assistant County Organiser, Graham O’Connell, shares the important jobs to add to your gardening to-do-list this November.
1. Tidy up the borders
The first job in the garden involves a bit of tidying up. When you cut back your borders, make sure to remove any dead and unsightly plants as these can harbour diseases.
Cutting back may leave you with some empty spaces, especially if you lost as many plants as me in the summer heatwave. Why not replant with some pansies, wallflowers and hellebores. Or there are some great shrubs that will continue to give you winter interest year after year like daphne, dogwood, sarcococca and witch hazel. Clematis cirrhosa, with its freckled flowers, is a good choice if you’d like a winter flowering climber.
Cut back herbaceous perennials at the front of borders or in view of the house to keep things looking neat. But do leave some that are tucked away as they make good winter habitats for wildlife and you can cut those back in the spring.
2. Tackle the lawn
The next area to work on is the lawn. If you have not already done so this is the last good opportunity to rake out any dead thatch and moss. If the soil is compacted where you regularly walk on it then push in a fork and wiggle it around a bit to let in some air. If your soil is heavy or gets waterlogged then brush in some sand to help drainage. Lastly, trim the edges. If there is one job above all others that improves the look of the garden this is it!
3. Plant your spring bulbs
November is a great time to plant tulips – there are so many delightful colours and forms available these days – just remember to plant them deep. My personal favourite is the purple flowered ‘Queen of Night’ which we plant in pots. As with all pots they benefit from pot feet for good drainage.
Queen of Night
4. Tend to the pond
Clean up ponds, water features and bird baths before adding a ball or plastic bottle with a few stones in it. This is to help ensure that the surface doesn’t completely freeze over, essential if you have fish, but it also alleviates pressure on the sides which can get damaged when the water freezes.
5. A little TLC
One job many of us forget – I speak from experience – is sorting out the garden furniture. For wooden tables and chairs that are left out this means a quick wash down and then applying an appropriate treatment. I use teak oil for our hardwood furniture as it conditions the wood and helps waterproof it. On metal just brush off any algae to stop it building up. On plastic use white vinegar or baking soda before covering, stacking or tying up chairs to stop them blowing around.
The final job is to stand back, with a well-deserved hot cuppa in hand, and admire your newly tidied, winter ready garden.