Dear Gazette Gardeners,
With the clocks going back this means winter officially begins, however there is still plenty of time for you to prepare your garden before the weather gets too bad.
It is time to start prepping your garden so that it is protected against the frosty winter weather. It’s really easy to forget about your garden over the colder months, but by having that final Autumn tidy-up you can be assured it will look better over Winter and will really benefit next year too.
There’s still plenty of time for you to start growing new plants and crops.
· October to December is the perfect time to start growing garlic. Be sure to keep them covered though, as birds love garlic.
· Why not plant some broad beans too? These will be ready for harvest mid-summer, perfect for those summer barbeques.
· Prune your roses, however different types of rose need to be pruned in different ways.
· Plant winter bedding to give you an extra splash of colour. Wall flowers, Primulas and Violas are all fabulous.
· Make sure you move tender plants like herbs indoors.
· Make sure you move indoor plants to an area where they can get as much sunlight as possible. Due to the nights coming in earlier, they need as much sunlight they can get.
· To prevent tulip fire infection, plant your tulip bulbs now!
Tools and Equipment Maintenance:
Be sure to remove any soil and debris from all tools so they are not kept damp and start to rust. Ensure the lawn mower is clean and unclogged and ready for the first cut of the year. If you have a petrol mower, you will also need to remove all unleaded fuel from the tank, as it doesn’t keep and can prevent your mower from running smoothly during its usage. Whilst we still have some dry weather, why not treat any wooden surfaces in your garden, give them a good clean and brush down then apply a suitable treatment to keep them looking brand new.
Top Tip: Make sure you check all your wooden tools for any rough edges, sand them down, then coat in linseed oil to keep them well maintained.
Why not leave out a pile of arranged sticks and cuttings behind the garden shed, out of plain sight for insects and hibernating hedgehogs to safely take cover from the harsh winter weather. Birds can also be a gardener’s best friend during cold winter months. They keep unwanted insects out of your garden that you won’t want to eat your winter plants. Make sure you keep plenty of bird seed out to entice birds into your garden and keep those pest insects away. Why not invest in a bird bath or a bird house/box to ensure you get regular visits?
· Lift and divide overcrowded sections of herbaceous perennials and cut back any yellowish foliage
· For a simple but stunning display for next spring, plant up a terracotta pot of hyacinth bulbs
· For some winter colours in your garden, plant pansies or violas, heather and trailing ivy
· Plant a magnolia tree for a gorgeous spring show
As we turn to winter, make sure your lawn is leaf free to ensure you do not provides winter shelter for unwelcome garden pests. A thick layer of leaves will smother the lawn and weaken the grass. Additionally, although your lawn may look like it hasn’t grown much, you will need to keep on top of the mowing and give it one last winter feed.
Top tip: Avoid walking on your lawn if it’s frosted, as this can also damage the grass.
Tips and Tricks:
Here are a couple of hints for bits and bobs that will help your garden this month.
· There is still time to plant daffodil bulbs ready for spring
· Harvest your last crops of the year – you should still be able to collect a few potatoes for those hearty stews!
· Replace any damaged glass in the greenhouse ready for winter
· Invest in a mushroom kit! They are really easy to grow and adds a nice touch to any garden.
· Enjoy the last of your Autumn colours – the bright purples, gorgeous golds and awesome oranges will soon disappear so make the most of them!
If you delay in pruning your roses some have fantastic colourful hips one such example is Rosa glauca which has orange ones. Hellebores also known as Christmas rose, should also begin to come in to flower now and the Niger varieties look great. My last favourite for this time of the year is Colchicum, planted in dappled shade, their bright pink flowers look amazing when everything else can look a bit drab.
JASON IS A PROFESSIONAL GARDENER AND LANDSCAPER, AND OWNER OF JHPS-GARDENS LTD.
HE REGULARLY WRITES A PIECE FOR OUR WEBSITE, PLUS THE SENTINEL NEWSPAPER,
AND IS A GO TO EXPERT ON BBC RADIO STOKE’S GARDENING PROGRAMME.