As the cold winter fast approaches, you will be thinking about getting your garden ready for those freezing temperatures. Your beds and plants need to prepare for the freeze too and there are things you can do to help, the best time to start is in the autumn, to ensure healthy, more vigorous growth next year. Here are some tips on doing just that:
Remove everything from your greenhouse, sweep out plant debris, and disinfect all paths and staging. You can even clean the inside of the glass with a hot solution of garden disinfectant which will help prevent pests and fungal infection.
stacking up plant pots so there are no hiding places for those pests to hide.
Also, clean pots and seed trays in preparation for spring sowing and planting.
Rake those leaves, then remove thatch and moss using a spring-tined rake and add it to the compost heap. If you have large amounts of moss, you may want to use a moss killer on your lawn first. Brush in a sandy top dressing afterwards, followed by an application of autumn lawn feed to prepare your lawn for the cold winter months.
Improve drainage and aeration around paths and play areas by making deep holes with the prongs of a garden fork at 10 cm intervals.
Tip: Autumn is a great time to lay new turf too, giving it plenty of time to establish before next summer.
3.Tidy up borders
Spend some time on your borders to ensure a vibrant display next spring, dig up annuals and plant your beds with pansies, bellis daisies and wallflowers. Cut back faded perennials to 5 cm above ground level, no need to be make them look neat and tidy, attractive seed heads are great for insects. Once your borders are clean and tidy, spread a thick layer of compost, bark chips or well–rotted manure
4.Clear out compost bins
Turn your compost if it is not quite ready for use. The autumn clear up of borders and vegetable plots always generates a lot of plant material for your compost heap. Now is the ideal time to clear out last year’s compost and use it around the garden, making room for this year’s waste.
5.Tidy ponds and water features
Try to prevent your pond or water feature clogging up with leaves by temporarily covering in a net during ‘the fall’. Spread a fine meshed net across the pond and pin it down with bricks. Remove any leaves that fall onto it and add them to your leaf mould bin or compost heap.
If you have not managed to clean your pond for some years and it is looking a bit murky, then late autumn is a great time to tackle it. If there are fish in your pond, then try to be vigilant during frosts to ensure that the water’s surface doesn’t completely freeze over, even if you just have a ball on standby to float on the water’s surface it will help.
Decomposing leaves turn your pond water foul and block filters on pumps.
6.Greenery and Light
Evergreens provide structure and interest during the drab months of winter. Warm soil and cooler air temperatures make autumn the perfect time to fill gaps in your borders with evergreens like sarcococca and daphne which provide glossy, green leaves and beautifully fragrant flowers even in the depths of winter. Fill containers with winter pansies, polyanthus, and violas, one species per pot.
Outdoor lighting in the winter really does cheer up your garden in the winter. Sunlight does not discriminate, but in the night garden you can focus attention on sculptural elements, trees, and topiary. Spotlights are the most versatile fittings and can be positioned at different angles for varying effects.
7.Lift tender species
Before the first frosts, lift tender species like begonias, dahlias, and cannas. Cut back the stems and gently lift the tubers/rhizomes from the ground. Clean the soil from them and store in trays of dry compost or sand, with just the top of crown visible.
Put the trays in a cool, frost free place over the winter ready for replanting when spring arrives, and all risk of frost has passed. In very mild areas it may be possible to protect tender species without lifting them, instead covering the crowns with a thick blanket of mulch.
Snow can be devastating to the trees and plants in your garden with prolonged periods of snow and ice. If you simply knock off the snow resting on the leaves and branches of your prized specimens while it’s still soft and fresh there is a good chance that you will be preventing severe damage and possible fatalities – so it’s worth going out and saving them when and if the snow arrives this winter.
Now your autumn garden is clean, tidy, and ready for winter., you’ll have a head start when spring arrives and it’s time to get growing again. So, you can be rest assured that your hard work now, will pay off.