Your Garden in Winter
Getting out into the garden at this time of year may be the last thing you want to do, preferring to stick indoors with the fire blazing and a warming bowl of stew. And you may be convinced that there are no gardening jobs to undertake while the weather is terrible, but you’d be dead wrong. There’s a huge selection of jobs you should be doing in the garden to keep it ticking over and get prepped for spring.
Check Winter Structures – December
As the deepest depths of winter start to take hold, you’ll hopefully have all your protective and preventative measures in place to safeguard all your plants and structures. Now’s the right time to give them all a final check before entrusting them with all your prized plants – making sure they’re structurally sound.
Plant Winter Shrubs – December
But it’s not all about preparing for the upcoming season; you can add a little colour and beauty to your winter garden. The likes of Saracococca confusa can sew colour and beautiful smells into your garden through the summer months.
Plant Tulips – December
This is perhaps the last chance you’ll have to plant tulips if you’re hoping for a spring bloom. Not sure which tulips are for you? Why not visit our Keukenhof Gardens blog for a little guidance?
Recycle the Christmas Tree – January
If you decorated the house with a live Christmas tree this year, rather than chucking it in the skip, it can be recycled and shredded for mulch. This mulch can then be used to improve the soil around plants and can help reduce some of those time-consuming jobs such as watering and weeding. If you’ve used a plastic tree, back in the attic it goes.
Remove Faded Flowers – January
Especially important with winter pansies, January is the time to remove any faded flowers to prevent them from setting seed. Give your next generation of flowers the best start in life by just leaving the most vibrant and beautiful flowers.
Prune Wisteria – January
If you are growing wisteria in your garden, it should be pruned twice a year – once in the summer, and once in the winter. The winter pruning will tidy up the plant and ensure the flowers are not obscured by leaves when they bloom in the spring. Wisteria side-shoots should be pruned back to just two or three buds.
Move Deciduous Trees and Shrubs – February
Unless the ground is frozen or waterlogged, February is as good a time as any to move any deciduous trees and shrubs which need a new home as spring approaches.
…And Trim the Deciduous Bushes – February
Leave this task too late and you’ll be getting visitors to the bushes in the form of birds looking for a place to nest. The presence of birds and nests makes the task of bush maintenance far more difficult.
Plant Bare Root Roses – February
If you want roses to be the main focal point of your summer garden, now is the time to get them planted in the beds. Pick a position where they’ll receive plenty of sunlight, and get ready for a beautiful, colourful spectacle come the summer months.
Hunt Out Hellebore Leaf Spot – February
Check for any hellebore leaf spots (rounded brown spots) on plant leaves, and remove any which have been affected. This will help prevent the further spread of the disease.
Remove Yellowing Leaves on Brassicas – December
As the worst of the winter’s weather approaches, your winter brassicas will need their leaves for protection. However, yellowing leaves offer no uses, and could harbour diseases and harmful pests.
Lift and Divide Rhubarb – December
Hardy rhubarb should still be going quite strong at this time of the year. However, to give it a little helping hand, re-energising its growth – lift and divide the established clubs of rhubarb. This can help support continued good rhubarb fortune.
Warm the Soil – January
If you’re planning on growing early peas this year, it’s time to start preparing the soil. Place a cloche over the soil to get it nice and warmed up, and ready for the sowing of the pea seeds in a couple of weeks’ time.
Get Weeding – February
A few big months for veg growing are coming up, so it’s time to get the soil weed-free and ready for planting. After removing weeds, fork in compost and cover with sheets of black plastic to keep the soil drier and warmer in preparation for the spring.
Start Sowing Veggies – February
If your vegetable rotation plan is complete and agreed upon, then it is time to start preparing the seed beds. You’ll also be able to sow some of the seeds, under cover, to get them blooming nice and early through the year. The likes of leeks and onions can be sowed at the early stage of the year.
Mulch the Perennial Veg – February
Using well-rotted manure or compost; mulch can be applied to the soil around perennial vegetables such as artichokes and asparagus. This can help strengthen the roots by retaining moisture in the soil and suppressing the threat of weeds.
Chit the Potatoes – February
Before planting, it is advisable to chit your potatoes – encouraging them to sprout. Place the potatoes facing upright with the growth nodes facing upwards in a cool, but frost-free location (popping them in an egg box is ideal). When the growth nodes have sprouted green shoots which are roughly 2.5cms long, it’s time to plant them. However, it’s a good idea to rub out all but 3 or 4 shoots on each potato, as this will lead to an abundance of small potatoes.
This process can help ensure you get a bumper crop of spuds this year.
Prune the Fruit Trees – December
December is the best time to prune fruit trees, helping to encourage the healthy production of fruit. Always use clean, sharp secateurs when pruning the trees in order to achieve healthy cuts. Trees bearing stone fruits such as plums, however, should not be pruned during this period as it will leave them vulnerable to silver leaf fungus.
Apply Glue Bands to Fruit Trees – December
Applying these glue bands can prevent female winter moths from climbing up fruit tree trunks and laying their eggs in the branches. Hatched winter moth caterpillars have a voracious appetite, and will eat holes in leaves and developing fruitlets in the trees – causing excessive damage and potentially compromising crop yield.
Plant Blueberries – December
December is the great time to plant blueberries, not only do they bloom delicious fruits but also pretty white flowers and attractive foliage in the autumn.
Force the Rhubarb – January
For those planting rhubarb who fancy a nice early harvest, cover the crowns with a layer of straw or bracken and cover this with an upturned bucket to exclude light. These forced rhubarb stalks will be ready two or three weeks earlier than their uncovered compatriots.
Prune Apple and Pear Trees – January
To help continue promoting healthy growth through winter and into spring, it’s important to prune any back garden apple and pear trees. This could be the difference between a bumper crop of delicious apples and pears this year.
Order and Plant Currant Bushes – January
If you’re thinking of planting any currant bushes this year, now’s the time to get them ordered. Plant in a well-prepared bed in a sheltered position and they’ll soon be offering currants which are much more delicious than supermarket counterparts.
Protect Fruit Blossom – February
If you are growing apricots, peaches and/or peaches, it is important that the blossom of the tree is protected from the elements and predators. This can help improve the chance of a fruitful crop of delicious fruit come the summer.
Spike the Lawn – December
Using a garden fork, spiking the lawn can help improve drainage and aeration – important for the health of the turf subjected to heavy rainfall, snowfall or frost.
However, it is important to try and avoid walking on the lawn when blanketed by heavy frost or snow – this could damage the turf significantly.
Clear the Last of the Autumnal Fall – December
The last leaves should have fallen now, so make sure you’ve cleared them all away. Neglecting rotting leaves can be disastrous for the lawn, potentially spreading disease.
Repair and Reshape Lawn Edges – January
If the adverse weather conditions have left your garden looking a little worse for wear, a simple trick to quickly neaten up its aesthetics is to go round the lawn edges with the trimmer. Boxing off the edges can add some semblance of order after the madness of the festive period.
Clear the Snows – January
If you’ve been treated to any snowfall this year, it’s important to clear it from any hedges and conifers to prevent any branches from being damaged or snapping under the weight.
Service the Lawnmower – February
Before the spring months commence, make sure your lawnmower is up to scratch. During this time of decreased demand, it is possible to send your lawnmower blades and garden shears away to be sharpened and serviced – ready for action when the time comes.
Around the House
Reduce Indoor Watering – December
As the temperatures continue to plummet, your indoor plants will require a lower volume of water – so it is important to reduce your amount of watering. Continue summer and autumn levels of watering and you could end up accidentally waterlogging and drowning your poor plants.
Plan Vegetable Crop Rotations – January
One of the most exciting (or at least we reckon) gardening tasks of the year can be completed in January, planning the vegetable crop rotations. It’s time to get excited about the delicious fresh veg you’ll be pulling out the ground throughout the year.
Wash the Pots – January
And finally, perhaps the least exciting job of the year. If you’ve reduced the number of pots and containers in the garden in preparation for a cold snap – now’s the perfect time to give them a good scrub and get them in tip-top condition for another year of gardening.
Order Fruit Trees – December
If you’re planning a few spectacular fruit trees for the garden, now is the time to order the sapling ready for planting. But be prepared for a lengthy wait, bearing fruit demands patience.
…And Get All the Seeds & Bulbs Ordered – January
A perfect job for a freezing January afternoon when you don’t want to leave the comfort of your armchair – sketch out a plan of the garden and determine all of the seeds you’ll need for the coming year. At Capital Gardens, we have a huge range of seeds and bulbs which will bloom throughout the seasons.
Stock Up on Tools – February
Assuming you’ve planned your garden for the coming year, you should have a good idea of the tools and pieces of equipment you’ll require to complete all those important jobs. Make an inventory of the tools needed, and make sure you have access to them all (rented or bought).
Capital Gardens consists of three leading garden centres in London. For a list of locations, head over to our homepage or call our dedicated team on 0208 348 5054.