How to get your garden ready for winter

How to get your garden ready for winter

Before you hang up your gardening gloves for the winter months, follow these handy tips and you’ll have a happy garden outside and a happy gardener indoors.

Before you hang up your gardening gloves for the winter months, follow these handy tips and you’ll have a happy garden outside and a happy gardener indoors

There’s plenty you can do now to prepare your garden for the colder weather, protect your plants against the elements and make sure that, come spring, everything will be ready and raring to go.

Clean your gardening tools

This will stop them rusting over winter. Take particular care of your lawnmower – wearing thick gloves, carefully clean the blades and wipe them with cooking oil using an old rag. This will keep them in tip-top condition until spring – and make them easier to clean the next time you mow, as the grass clippings will just slide off the blades.

Wash or brush down your garden furniture

Using Flash Multi-Surface Concentrated Cleaner means you have double the cleaning power for those stubborn stains. Let the furniture dry thoroughly before storing it away safely in a locked shed or garage.

If you’ve got expensive kit inside your shed, consider covering the windows with a piece of stylish fabric (or cardboard) to keep out prying eyes, particularly as items stored outside may not be covered by your home insurance policy.

Give your flowerbeds a good clear-out

Rotting plant material not only looks unattractive, but it can spread disease, so cut off dead flower heads, remove any old foliage, sweep up fallen leaves, and pull out any plants that have seen better days.

Help keep the moisture in your soil by adding a generous 2-3 inch layer of mulch (bark chippings, compost, pebbles or slate) all over your flowerbeds. Not only will this keep them looking tidy, it will also help protect plant roots from the cold, and deter cats and pests as well.

Tidy and clean your greenhouse

Throw out any old or dead plants and wash empty pots or trays to deter pests. Then scrub the glass inside and out with a mixture of washing-up liquid and warm water to make it sparkle and maximise the light that gets through in the darker winter months. Let the whole lot dry thoroughly before closing the doors.

Move houseplants back inside

If you moved houseplants outside during the summer, they’ll need to return indoors before temperatures dip. Start by repotting any that look cramped, and remove any bugs such as aphids, scale insects or spider mites, before giving the plants a gentle wash with a hose.

Avoid sending your plants into shock (making them wilt and lose their leaves) by gradually acclimatising them to the warmer temperatures and reduced light inside. For a week or so, bring your plants into the house for the evening only; then put them back outside during the day. Slowly build up the time they spend indoors each day until they’re there permanently.

Cover up delicate plants

To keep delicate outdoor plants, such as ferns, banana plants and fig trees, snug over winter, and to prevent frost damage, create a ‘nest’ of straw on top of the soil around the base of the plant, or wrap fleece fabric or hessian (from garden centres) around the trunks and leaves. On a budget? Bubble wrap will do a similar job.

Add winter colour

Summer might be over, but that doesn’t mean your garden has to look dull and dreary. Add some winter colour by planting rosemary, Skimmia japonica (an evergreen shrub with festive red berries), Cornus alba or dogwood (which has bright red stems in winter), and winter flowers such as cyclamen. If you’re really organised, plant crocus and snowdrop bulbs now that will flower in early spring.

Show your lawn some TLC

Give it a final mow, then use a rake to remove leaves, moss or dried grass clippings, and improve drainage by making holes in the soil with a garden fork, or running a spiked roller over the entire area. If you need to lay new turf, do it now before frosts set in, as the wet weather will help it bed down before the spring.

Prep your pond

Rotting leaves are your pond’s worst enemy, polluting the water and blocking pump filters. Keep your water feature healthy by placing a piece of netting over the top and weighing it down around the edges with bricks or large stones. Then you can simply remove the leaves that fall on top.

How do you prep your garden for winter? Let us know your tips in the comments section below.

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