Winding up for winter

Jamie Higham shows us how we can keep our gardens looking good in the cold season and urges us to think ahead to the spring.

The growing season is drawing to a close, but there is plenty you can do to keep your garden looking good through the winter and prepare for next year. November is a time for general maintenance and tidying, together with timely tasks such as planting and moving shrubs. When you’ve tackled these jobs, then you can sit back and relax by the fire and start planning ahead.

Three plant pots sitting on new steps

The ‘to do’ list

  • Leaves – as trees shed the last of their foliage, sweeping up, leaf-blowing and collecting is essential. Don’t leave leaves on lawns, as they will cause the turf to deteriorate. Instead, collect them and make leaf mould — a wonderful soil conditioner.
  • Flowering plants and grasses – cut back perennials that have finished flowering, but leave some of the late summer varieties (Echinacea, eryngium, rudbeckia) with attractive seedheads and tall ornamental grasses. These will provide beautiful lacy winter silhouettes on those frosty mornings to come.
  • Spring bulbs – you can just about get away with planting some more daffodils in the first week of November, but there is still time to get tulips in the ground, as long as it’s not frosty. So replenish your pots and borders with a range of fantastic colours.
  • Tools – make sure you give your garden tools a good clean and oil before you put them away for the winter.
  • Saying water – you might not have to think about watering the garden now, but it’s a good time to install a water butt if you don’t have one.
  • Trees – November is a good time for planting, so choose a new tree with striking bark to bring some winter drama to the garden. Betula x jaquemontii has the whitest of silver birch stems, while Prunus serrula has a stunning, tactile bark that looks like burnished copper.
  • Garden furniture – cover wooden furniture for protection from the elements and give it a longer life.
  • Planning ahead – winter is the best time to reassess your garden. You can take a long hard look at the bare bones and see if the structure and layout are working. If building work and planting are done over the winter, you can sit back and enjoy a complete, mature garden next summer.

For more advice on managing and planning your garden, contact Jamie Higham at Green Dot Gardens on 01628 762 620.

Published in Real Gardens, www.berkshire-life.co.uk and www.buckinghamshirolife.co.uk