Gardening wisdom this winter

Tackling jobs in the garden during the winter can be a matter of balancing the head and the heart – plenty of practical jobs to be carried out while your imagination can run riot as you prepare for a burst of life in the spring.

Here are a few tasks to consider to carry out before the winter, before you hunker down for the colder months.

1. PREPARE YOUR PLANTERS AND TUBS

Now is a great time to spruce up your planters, especially around your summerhouse, to create a pop of colour over the grey winter months. Plants such as winter flowering pansies can last through to the spring, and if you underplant with bulbs, such as daffodils or tulips, you are in for a colourful treat as the seasons change. You can also raise your pots onto feet to prevent water logging.

2. FEELING ROSY

It is a great time to prune your roses and remove any diseased leaves and stems – again a little bit of work now can ensure a glorious display next year. Reducing their height will also protect them as the weather gets stormy.

3. PERFECT BORDERS

It is a great time to tidy up your borders, tackle any weeds and start removing the dead leaves as winter takes a hold. October is also a good time to plant new shrubs, especially evergreens and conifers. Again, it is a chance to look ahead and start planning for next year.

4. THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER

October is a good time to care for your lawn. Often you can carry out your final mow and it is an opportunity to repair any damage by reseeding. You can get even more adventurous and create a new lawn by laying turf and start making your garden dreams a reality.

5. KEEP YOUR PLANTS SAFE FROM THE COLD

As the leaves change, it is a good idea to prepare for that first frost. It is important to move delicate plants into sheltered spots within your garden. Keep them warm by wrapping containers and pots in bubble wrap, and the plant itself with horticultural fleece.

6. CHECK THAT YOUR GREENHOUSE HEATERS ARE WORKING

If you have heaters in your greenhouse, check these are working before the temperatures fall further, and insulate with bubble wrap to prevent any heat escaping.

7. INSULATE OUTDOOR TAPS AND PREVENT PONDS FROM FREEZING

To prevent the outdoor water supply from freezing, insulate any taps and keep an eye on your pond. A ball floating around on your pond will delay freezing, whilst a more sophisticated pond heater or water feature will prevent freezing altogether. If you have fish and it does freeze over, do not smash the ice as this can harm them.

For more garden tips and advice on how you can get your garden ready for the winter visit the RHS website.

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