Tips for preparing your garden for winter


Putting your garden to bed for the winter is mostly a matter of cleaning up and covering up. As autumn progresses and temperatures drop, those plants that aren’t killed by frost prepare for dormancy.

Cover tender plants with commercial frost cloth to protect them.

Collect the fallen leaves from hard surfaces like paving and driveways.  You can use them as a light layer of mulch around plants, add them in thin layers to your compost heap, or make a leaf mould by stacking them in plastic bags to compost.

Snails will be looking for places to overwinter. Clean up under containers and clumps of perennials where they will huddle together and put out fresh bait.

Before you store your lawn mower at the back of the shed, it is well worth sending it for a service to ensure that it is in perfect condition when you need it next spring. Shears and secateurs need sharpening – you can do this yourself or send them away if you prefer. Spades, forks and other tools will benefit from a good wash. Dry them thoroughly and oil the metal parts to prevent rust. Cleaned and protect wooden handles with linseed oil.

Plant new perennials, especially those that bloom in spring. While it appears as if all activity in the garden has stopped, there’s a lot going on under the soil. Newly transplanted trees and shrubs, divisions of perennials, and hardy bulbs are all growing roots, drawing on soil nutrients and moisture around them. Earthworms and various microbes in the soil are still processing the organic material they’re finding. Making this the ideal time to install a new garden or redo your garden, as the growth goes into the roots of plants and you will have a magnificent spring garden to look forward to.