Winterizing Your Garden

As winter approaches we have been thinking of ways in which we can encourage you to get out in the garden.

We will list below some of the jobs that can be done between November through to March, to help get the garden ready for spring. Not all of these will apply to you and not all are essential, but we hope this gives you an incentive to out on your hat, gloves and scarfs and brave the cold.

We are also offering a free 6ft Christmas tree to the winner of our November prize draw see our post here: Christmas Tree Competition

We offer a free quote for any work you would like us to look at and will happily discuss the garden and ways we could improve it.

If you are thinking of re-designing your garden and would like us to draw up plans, then winter is the best time of year to do this. The process from first visit to designing, approving and then quoting can take a few months. If you would like to start the work in spring, the process needs to start in the winter.

We have published various documents in the members area of our website, these include information on what to do through hot, cold, wet and dry conditions, as well as others. If you have any ideas of other fact sheets, please let us know.

Winter Garden Tips:

All through Winter

  • Please feed the birds and other small creatures that may not be able to find food due to snow on the ground or other causes. Their natural food sources have pretty much dried up by this time of the year. They play an important part in the ecosystem of your garden
  • Remove any fallen leaves from borders and lawn
  • Check on any corms and tubers that you dug up and stored in November. Remove and discard any that show signs of disease or rot

• You can move/transplant trees, shrubs and perennials from the end of the November through to March

• Cut back all perennials where foliage has died back, to approx. 2-3-inches from base

• Prune your shrubs to shape and remove any dead wood

• Tulip bulbs may still be planted in the early part of the month

• Move Acers to a sheltered area, out of cold winds

• Drain your hose and put it away so they don’t freeze and burst

• Apply moss control treatment to lawns, if necessary

• Make sure tender plants are protected from frost. Mulching with bark, sawdust or straw will help create a blanket of protection over the root system, or even material, as a short-term solution to keep snow and frosts off

• Lift, dry and store Dahlias before first frosts. Corms should be stored upside-down, in a cool, frost-free and dark place over winter

• Cover strawberries two inches deep with hay or straw

• Make sure that the canes of your climbing roses, raspberries and climbers are securely fastened to their supports. Winter winds can whip and severely damage unprotected plants

• As soon as the leaves fall from fruit trees, raspberries and other deciduous plants, they can be sprayed for the first time with a dormant spray

• Cut the tops off your asparagus plants, and add a winter dressing of aged manure to the bed

• Plant Garlic cloves

• Continue to watch for insect, slug and snail, or disease damage throughout the garden, and take the necessary steps to control the problem

• When you have finished your last mowing of the year, make sure that it is properly stored. Run it until it is out of fuel and give it a service

• Clean and oil your garden tools for winter storage

• Prune trees before snow falls to prevent damage caused by the weight of snow

• Protect tender plants, such as Cordylines, Tree ferns, Pittosporum, Ceanothus, Passion flower, etc. by wrapping with fleece and stuffing with straw where necessary, or move them into a green-house, if possible

• Remove any fallen leaves from borders and lawn

• Make sure your outdoor taps are covered and turned off inside to protect them from freezing

• Buy in some bags of rock salt, if you want to keep paths clear

• Check heater is working in green-house and check for fuel stock

• Clean the greenhouse glass inside and out, then insulate the whole greenhouse using bubble wrap. Check plants weekly to make sure they are not rotting or infected with any diseases. Also, remove any leaves from guttering

• Stay off frozen grass if possible

• December is a good month to take cuttings of rhododendrons, azaleas, and other evergreen shrubs. The cutting should be taken from new tip growth, and kept in bright light, at about 70 degrees f

• Now is the ideal time to start planning any work you are thinking of doing in the garden in the coming year. You may need to draw up a plan, either for hard landscaping work, or planting plans for the borders. You can then plan your schedule through the year, i.e. landscaping work is best done in early Spring, immediately followed by planting and turfing, bulb planting in Autumn, vegetable planting/maintenance through the year, etc.

• Prune any trees and shrubs if not already done

• Shake off snow from your shrubs and trees, to avoid damage through the weight of the snow

• You may also want to encourage hedgehogs, so help them find shelter

• This is also an ideal time to check your tools. Existing tools may need sharpening and oiling, or mowers and petrol-driven tools serviced. You can also take note of what tools you may need to buy over the coming year

• Keep a regular check for any rotting or diseased plants and insects in your greenhouse too

• The ashes from any fires you have over winter, can be used as a fertilizer for your Iris and other alkaline soil plants

• If ground conditions are suitable, now is a good time to turn the soil, allowing the frost to break up heavy clods and to expose any insect eggs in the soil

• Prepare ground for Asparagus

• Plant Fruit trees and canes

• Plant Garlic cloves in pots ready to transplant later

• Plant bare root roses in to holes full of organic matter. The more the better. Plant deeply to prevent the root stock from shooting.

• Prune wisteria by taking the side stems back to about 2.5 cm from the main stems

• Protect early flowering or tender plants from frosts or snow, by covering them with fleece. Remember to remove the fleece as soon as the weather improves

• Move any shrubs, trees or perennials around the garden and divide plants where necessary

• Trees should be fed and/or mulched with well-composted manure

• Fertiliser should be used to feed herbaceous borders and individual shrubs fertilised where necessary. My general purpose fertiliser of choice is chicken manure pellets

• Apply dormant oil fruit spray

• Deciduous vines such as honeysuckle should be pruned and shaped

• If not already done, prune Raspberry canes to 6 inches.

• Rhubarb, horseradish, asparagus and artichokes can be planted this month

• Continue feeding the birds and clean out any bird boxes ready for Spring

• Keep a check for any insects on your greenhouse plants

• Turn the compost pile

• Check all January’s jobs have been done

• Repair any fencing, trellis-work, etc. that has been damaged over the winter

• Weed the garden thoroughly. Perennial weeds, such as dandelions, thistles, docks, etc. are best treated with a systemic weed-killer, ensuring the roots are killed

• This is an ideal time for lawn maintenance. Repair any damaged areas of the lawn by either re-turfing or seeding. De-thatch, rake and/or aerate the lawn

• Feed lawns with a slow-release Spring weed & feed treatment. Organic treatments are better than synthetic products and I recommend using a lawn specialist to look after your lawn (Please contact us if you would like to be recommended to a local lawn specialist)

• Prune roses and feed. Begin to spray for black spot, if necessary

• Apply preservatives to all wooden items in the garden, such as sheds, pergolas, benches etc. if not done in the Autumn

• Sow seeds of summer flowering annuals indoors

• Prune winter Jasmine after flowering; cut honeysuckle back to 3ft

• Prune Apple trees and other hardy fruit trees

• Divide snowdrops while in leaf

• Remove all dead blooms from bulbs

• Fertilize any bulbs that have finished blooming with bone meal or similar

• Fertilize tulips as foliage appears and again after flowering. Daffodils and tulips should be fertilized again in early to mid-August.

• Plant Primroses and Pansies

• Work well-composted manure or compost into vegetable beds

• Peas and sweet peas can be planted

• Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions, early potatoes, and radish seeds may be planted in the garden about mid month

• Spinach, Chard, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and other hardy vegetables can be seeded or set out late in the month

• Plant Strawberries, Blueberries, Currants, Loganberries, Boysenberries, Grapes, and fruit trees

• Time to start tomatoes, lettuce, and many other vegetables from seed

• Whitefly in the greenhouse – treat it with a parasitic wasp and bacterial soap.

• Check all February’s jobs have been done