Winter can be a sad time for gardeners. The weather turns colder, the frosts make the ground unworkable, and all the beautiful blooms of spring and summer are but a distant memory.
Many people tend not to venture into the garden much during winter, and just let nature take its course until the milder climate returns. However, neglecting your garden during the colder months can mean you make life harder for yourself, and you could find that without a bit of love and care some of your more delicate plants take a beating, making it tougher for them to return to their former glory later in the year.
It’s also worth noting that a garden can be enjoyed all year round. Even if it’s just to admire it from the cosiness of your kitchen or living room. Many plants come into their own in colder weather, and you can still enjoy a vibrant, thriving outdoor space when winter comes a-knocking.
So let’s take a look at what gardeners can do to keep their gardens looking great this winter.
What to plant in your garden this winter
Plant out winter bedding. Winter bedding plants are an ideal solution to sad, bare borders. Choose hardy shrubs and plants with lots of foliage to bulk out these areas, bringing some greenery and life back into the garden.
Grow fresh food. There is nothing more satisfying than growing your own food, and greens such as lettuce, arugula and mustard, kale and Swiss chard can all do well in colder temperatures. There are plenty of root crops and brassicas that will develop over winter in time for a spring harvest too.
Invest in some colourful winter-blooming plants. If your garden is looking a little bleak then lift your spirits by injecting some colour. Plants such as winter hazel, witch hazel, and honeysuckle are elegant and attractive, and bulbs such as snowdrops, species crocus, and winter aconite can also bring a smile to one’s face as they pop up through the snow and let you know that spring is on the way.
What to protect in your garden this winter
Before the severe frosts arrive, make sure you protect your garden by thoroughly watering the soil. Once they come, you can keep shrubs and plants safe by mulching bases with shredded leaves, bark or woodchip for added insulation.
Any newly planted trees or shrubs should be wrapped with a layer of burlap stuffed with an insulating material like dried leaves or straw to keep them safe from the frost.
Get your garden tidy and clear up fallen leaves, berries, and other debris from lawns, decking, and ponds before they decompose and cause damage.
Winter doesn’t just mean colder weather, but wetter weather too so raise plants in pots onto pot feet to stop them waterlogging. Outdoor containers will also benefit from insulation; bubblewrap can be used to protect plants from the cold.
Roses are prone to wind-rock which can uproot them and damage them irreversibly. By pruning them back, gardeners give roses the best chance of standing up to the high winds that winter brings.
Fruit trees are prone to winter moth damage, and by using grease bands around the trunks, gardeners can protect them from these pests.
Remember, it’s easy to focus on protecting your plants, but winter is a harsh season for all wildlife and putting out bird food can help hungry birds survive these months, and bring cheering life into the garden too.
If the unpleasant weather is too off-putting then why not bring a little of the outdoors inside? Growing bulbs such as paperwhite narcissus or amaryllis indoors can help keep gardeners fingers green without having to the brave the cold!
By following our winter gardening tips, you can enjoy your garden throughout the seasons and make sure it’s healthy and protected over the winter months to get back to its beautiful, blooming best come spring.