Alice, Bulbs, Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Plants

When the weather turns colder, the last thing you want to do is get outside in the garden. Flowers bloom and vegetables are ready to be planted and harvested during spring and summer, while winter tends to be the quieter season. However, while your plants are dormant, there’s plenty you can be doing this season to prepare your garden. Laying in the groundwork now can ensure a blooming spring, and help you beat the winter blues.

preparing your garden for spring in winter

Clear the soil

As many plants will now be dormant or have finished their life cycle for the year, now is a great time to clear the soil ready for planting new crops next year. Remove leaves and other debris from flower beds, borders, and your vegetable plot to get back to the bare soil; these can be placed in your compost heap if you have one. You can also remove any weeds or large stones ready for new growth.

Position dormant plants

Take the opportunity to get your shrubs and fruit trees all set for spring now they are in their dormant phase. Now is the perfect time to move any plants you would like to reposition as they are much easier to transport without their foliage. Dig a trench around the plant and try to take out as much of the roots as possible before planting it in its new position at the same level it was previously in the soil. It is also the season to plant any new trees and shrubs in their bare root form; at Primrose we have a great selection of bare root fruit trees, roses, and more. Make sure to prune any dormant plants now to promote growth, develop a good shape, and encourage flowers and fruit.

Prepare the soil

Get ahead with your spring planting and get your soil prepared now. Dig in a layer of organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure, or recycled green waste so it has time to permeate into the soil so by the time spring comes, it will be ripe for planting.

Clean and stock your greenhouse

Now is the perfect time to give your greenhouse a good clean ready for planting seedlings next season. Sweep out any debris from the floor and benches and wash them with a garden disinfectant. Wash the inner and outer walls with a disinfectant or detergent to remove algae, moss, dirt, and grime, and wash out your pots and seed trays to help prevent disease. Now is also a good time to inspect your greenhouse for any damage, replace any broken parts, and stock up on greenhouse accessories. At Primrose, we have a great range of greenhouse accessories including staging, potting tables, ventilation, heaters, and more.

what to do to prepare your garden for spring in winter

Organise your garden shed

On a dry day that’s not too frosty, take the time to sort through your garden shed. Clear it out and recycle anything you no longer need, check security, and organise and clean your tools ready for spring. It’s also a good time to order any new tools, or put them on your wishlist in the run-up to Christmas! At Primrose, we offer a fantastic collection of gardening tools for a range of purposes.

Remove garden pests

Removing hibernating garden pests now will save you a lot of trouble when spring and summer comes. Inspect the crowns of your perennial plants and remove any sheltering slugs, snails, or aphids. Clear last year’s pots of summer bedding and remove any white vine weevil you find.

Plant spring bulbs

Spring-flowering bulbs need to be planted during autumn and winter in order to bloom come spring.  Take the time to plant bulbs such as crocuses, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, bluebells, and fritillaries before the frost sets in for a glorious display of colour next season. Our collection of flower bulbs and tubers have a wide selection of flora to bring your garden to life.

Install a water butt

Make the most of the winter rainfall by installing a water butt in your garden. Rainwater is the best type of water for your plants, and harvesting rainwater rather than using the mains supply is also great for the environment. Position your water butt underneath a downpipe from your home or shed, or obtain a diverter kit if you have a closed drainpipe.

Plan next year’s plants

As the gardening year comes to a close, now is a great time to reflect on your garden’s performance this year- what worked well, and what didn’t- and start thinking about what you would like to grow next year. At Primrose, we stock a fantastic collection of Mr Fothergill’s seeds, which include high-quality flower, vegetable, and herb seeds to make your garden flourish.

What have you been doing in your garden this season? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

 

Gardening Year, Guest Posts, How To

Preparing garden building for winter

As autumn draws to a close, many of us have become accustomed to the colder weather and shorter days, opting for relaxing indoors rather than outside in our gardens. But just because the warm, pleasant days of summer are long gone it doesn’t mean we should abandon our gardens all together – especially as cold, wet weather can wreak havoc with outdoor buildings.

From underfloor heating to essential maintenance, this article will shed light on the steps you can take to prepare your garden buildings for the colder months ahead – creating an outdoor area that’s still usable, even when the temperatures drop.

Keep the weather where it belongs

Winter inevitably brings wind, rain, ice and snow that can cause significant damage to outdoor buildings – particularly if they’re built with timber. Therefore, it’s vital to take appropriate weatherproofing measures to keep the elements at bay – prolonging the life of your garden buildings, as well as protecting what’s inside.

From fixing leaking roofs and checking window and door seals to installing guttering and water butts to keep excess water away from the structure, weatherproofing should be a top priority to avoid damp and rot setting in.

Clear the area

When winter hits, it can be tempting to lock up outdoor buildings and items, forgetting about them until the following spring. However, it pays to get things organised before then to make better use of the space all year round.

Taking the time to remove low-lying branches, trim back nearby shrubbery and clear fallen leaves away from the building will prevent potential damage outside and improve the appearance of your garden building. On top of this, making sure the inside is organised and clutter-free with shelving and storage will offer up more floor space – meaning you’re more likely to use it in winter.

Sheds in winter

Create a winter haven

Garden sheds offer a perfect opportunity to add extra living space, but if you want guaranteed use of this building throughout the year, you could consider adding a heating system to keep this space warm and cosy.

A free-standing electric heater or wood-burning stove are both potential options, but underfloor heating could add a great level of warmth and insulation. Whether you use floor tiles or wooden planks, underfloor heating is easy to install and provides a cost-effective heating solution, too.

Add a fresh coat of paint

Applying a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in protecting your garden buildings against adverse weather – working to minimise the effects of damp and rot. However, it isn’t just the exterior walls that can benefit from a lick of paint or varnish – you can do wonders with the inside, too.

From adding a splash of colour with seasonal tones to simple, neutral shades, your garden building is the ideal place to experiment with interior design styles – projecting a warm and welcoming ambiance to enjoy, whatever the weather.

Furnish with flair

To make your garden building extra snug over the winter months, think about updating the interiors. From comfy sofas and soft cushions to fluffy rugs and faux-fur throws, using a variety of different fabrics, colours and textures will create a plush and relaxing atmosphere.

Whether you intend to use outdoor buildings simply for storage or as living space the whole year through, our essential maintenance and interior design tips will help you ensure these spaces are well prepared for the harsh weather this winter might bring.

SuhaylSuhayl Laher works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers – bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers.

Animals, Bird Baths, Composting, How To, Megan, Ponds, Wildlife

How To Care For Wildlife in Winter

As we approach the winter months, it is time for a lot of wildlife to find a cosy spot somewhere to hibernate. Species that do not hibernate prepare for harsh weather and a lot struggle to find food. This is where your garden can come in. By learning how to care for wildlife in winter you can save the lives of some wildlife that otherwise wouldn’t make it through the harsher winter months.

Hedgehogs

how to care for wildlife in winter hedgehog
In order for hedgehogs to survive their winter hibernation, they need to have a substantial amount of fat stored. You can help boost their fat reserves by leaving out small plates of meaty pet food, along with crunchy pet biscuits, which will help take care of their teeth. Once hedgehogs are ready to hibernate they like warm spots under piles of leaves and in logs. We suggest when collecting leaves, instead of composting all of them, place some underneath hedges at the edge of the garden. This creates welcome places hedgehogs can make a home for the winter. Talking of compost heaps, hedgehogs often like to nest in them so ensure you check your compost for hedgehogs before turning it over. Alternatively you could buy a ready-built hedgehog home for hedgehogs to settle in to.

Birds

how to care for wildlife in winter - bird on a branch

As birds do not hibernate, it is important to provide them lots of food and a water source over winter. Food in the wild can be scarce over the colder months. To help prevent starvation, have a variety of foods available to them over a number of feeding stations. Feeding stations range from bird tables to hanging feeders to ground feeding stations. The more variety of bird food you put out, the more diverse a species of bird you will find in your garden. Peanuts, bird seed mix, fat balls as well as any leftover dried fruit are all good choices and will attract blue tits to robins to goldfinches. To find out more about what bird food to put out check out our article here. It is also important to make sure birds have access to fresh water. Keep your birdbath topped up and ensure it doesn’t freeze over by placing a table tennis ball at the surface of the water.

Pond life

how to care for wildlife in winter - frog in a pond

Many of your fish will hibernate at the bottom of your pond during the winter months. It is vital that your pond does not freeze over during extra cold spells. This can trap poisonous gases, as well as suffocate frogs and the like. Help prevent this by placing a tennis ball at the surface or installing a pond heater. If it does freeze over, place a pan of boiling water on its surface to allow the ice to melt. Ensure you remove any fallen leaves and dead plant matter from your pond. If you leave this it can release harmful gases as it decomposes.

Insects

how to care for wildlife in winter - butterfly on leaf

Insects are often long forgotten when it comes to garden wildlife, but they are an important part of your garden’s ecosystem. Many play the vital role of pollination in your garden. Others are great predator control. One way you can help insects in the winter is by letting the grass on your lawn grow wildly. Try and resist mowing it until spring. This allows a place for butterflies and other insects to shelter from the harsh weather. Another way to provide shelter, as well as food for some creatures, is to create a log pile. You can also drill holes in the logs to create housing for solitary bees. Alternatively, buy a solitary bee pollinator house. Once you’ve built your log pile, be sure not to disturb it as not to interfere with the wildlife community inside.

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Bulbs, Composting, Gardening, Guest Posts, How To, Planting

The cold winter weather is fast approaching. For gardening enthusiasts, this means that it will soon be time to put your hoses and tools away until the growing season returns next spring. However, your gardening tasks aren’t quite done for the year yet, as you still need to ensure that your beds and plants are prepared to handle the freezing temperatures. Preparing your garden in the autumn also helps to ensure healthy, more vigorous growth next year. With this in mind, we’ll now take a look at four simple steps to ensure your garden is ready for winter.

pruning shears

1. Shield Perennials and Bulbs from the Cold

Annual plants can simply be pulled up and tossed in the compost pile when they die. However, any perennials and bulb plants may need a bit of extra protection to keep them alive through the winter.

Before the first frost arrives, it is best to start cutting back on how much you water any perennials to help harden them up and better prepare them for winter. Once the plants have finished for the year, it is also a good idea to trim back the stems so that they’re only about 6 to 8 inches high. Doing so will help to shield the plants from the cold and also allow them to grow more vigorously when the warm weather arrives.

Any bulb plants that flower in the early spring can usually be left in the ground throughout the winter. However, any bulbs that flower in the summer should be dug up and stored inside to prevent them from being damaged by the cold. This includes freesias, elephant’s ears, cannas, calla lilies and other later-blooming flowers.

After gently digging the bulbs up, shake off any excess dirt and then allow the bulbs to dry in the sun for approximately a week. Finally, store them in a cardboard box surrounded by plenty of peat, sawdust or newspaper so that none of the bulbs are touching.

bulbs

2. Consider Some Last-Minute Planting

Autumn is the ideal time to plant any early-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodil, iris, etc. In fact, the only way to ensure that your bulb flowers will bloom in the spring is to plant them in the early autumn before the ground freezes. Most early-flowering bulbs need to freeze during the winter in order to grow in the autumn. This means they need to either be in the ground or stored in a freezer.

Many varieties of perennials also work well when planted in the winter due to the drier ground and lower temperatures. If you’re growing a vegetable garden, planting onions and garlic during the autumn allows them to be harvested several months earlier the following year.

adding compost

3. Compost Garden and Flower Beds

Adding compost during the autumn helps to provide additional nutrients to your plants the next spring. Composting during the autumn allows the nutrients more time to break down and infiltrate deeper into the soil, which in turn provides better growing conditions the following season. Generally speaking, you should spread a thin layer of compost over the top of the soil, and then work the compost deeper into the ground sometime around or just after the first freeze.

mulch

4. Use Mulch to Protect Your Top Soil

Another good idea is to spread a layer of mulch or dead leaves before the first freeze. Adding a layer of mulch on top of your beds helps to protect any plants left in the ground from the freezing temperatures. In addition, the mulch will also help to prevent rain, snow and ice from washing away your top soil or leeching out its nutrients. However, the layer of mulch shouldn’t be much more than three to four inches thick as otherwise it could choke out your plants and make it harder for them to bloom in the spring.

If you are lucky enough to live in a fairly warm climate with milder winters, you probably won’t have to do much to prepare your garden. However, if you live in a place where it frequently freezes or where there is a lot of winter precipitation, it is essential that you take the proper steps to your garden. Winter can wreak havoc on your garden if you’re not careful, so it’s important that you do what you can to protect it.

Victoria GiangVictoria is a home working mom and the author of How Daily, a blog that shares her taste and experience on food, recipes, home & garden projects. These are ranging widely from quick cleaning of household appliance to planting and caring for garden favorites.