It’s a mistake to think that because the flowers have stopped blooming and your bushes and shrubs are devoid of leaves that there’s nothing to do in the garden now that winter is here. The winter weather in the UK has become even more changeable but there are always going to be extremely cold days, heavy rain and winds, maybe even snow. If you love your garden, there’s no need to go into hibernation for the winter months. There is still lots to keep you busy.
Bring in some winter plants
If you’re used to a lush green garden and plenty of blooms in the spring and summer, it can be sad to see such an austere area in the winter. You can bring in some colour and interest with hardy and winter flowering plants and shrubs. If you want winter flowering shrubs, they will obviously need time to embed and grow before they start to bloom so they will need general care according to the plant type until the season they bloom. For more instant colour, a job you can do in winter is to plant flowers that can withstand the harsh conditions. You might have an area of the garden set aside for winter flowers, or you might use pots and containers. Traditional crocus, Christmas roses. Snowdrops, and even early daffodils can all provide splashes of colour when the skies are grey.
Looking after the lawn
Grass does not stop growing in the coldest months of the year, but growth slows down considerably. According to the professionals at Mowers Online, there will be spurts of growth during milder periods so if there is a dry period, it is worth getting the mower out to tidy up the lawn. Cutting the lawn will also stimulate growth at this time of year. Despite the slow growth, grass that is just left alone between October and March – generally considered the closed season on lawn mowing – can become long, diseased, thinner, and less dense. It will make it harder to get it looking pristine again.
There are other things to bear in mind if you want your grass to look its best when spring comes.
- Apply some soluble iron to provide colour and hardiness.
- Clear up fallen leaves as best as you can so they don’t smother the grass and prevent growth.
- Do not walk on the lawn when it is covered in frost.
- Keep edges along pathways and around borders trimmed.
- Don’t worry about clearing snow from the lawn.
Now is the time to think about the new growth you want to introduce to your garden for the spring. You aren’t restricted to sowing seeds indoors or keeping things in the shed to start them off. The practice of winter sowing enables you to get a head start on spring. Whether you want to plant flowers or vegetables, there is a way to seed now for spring growth. You’ll need to understand the winter sowing technique and then have the confidence to apply it to the things you want to grow.
Clear out the shed
Winter is a good time to do a spring clean of the shed. Most gardeners start off with the intention of starting each spring with a nice, tidy shed, all organised with tools all sorted, pots arranged by sized, and electrical tools stored correctly. By the time the summer is over, tools are everywhere, some still have clumps of soil attached, there’s compost on the floor, the extension leads are all jumbled, and there’s detritus all over the place. Put on a warm jumper or a coat and be resolute in tidying it all up. Get rid of anything you know you won’t use despite good intentions, clean tools, repair anything that needs it. You’ll be glad of the effort when spring comes around.
A DIY project
TV gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh says that the winter is the ideal time to undertake a DIY project. You might consider building a raised bed from railway sleepers or bricks. Borders can be reshaped, or you might think about putting edges to the borders using slate, fencing, or some other decorative materials. Winter might be time to think about installing that brick barbecue you’ve been planning for the last couple of years, or to add extra seating so you don’t have guests scrabbling for seats during those family get togethers on summer days. You might even erect a new shed. The thing to remember about DIY projects in the garden in winter is that progress will be determined by the weather. The ground might be too hard to dig, the rain might be too heavy, and you can’t work when there’s a few inches of snow on the ground.
Ruby Clarkson is a freelance writer who has a passion for all things gardening. When she isn’t outside planting flowers or digging up weeds, she is wrapped up in a blanket with a cup of tea and a book.