About now a lot of people will be retreating indoors and they’ll possibly stay there until spring. On the 1st September, many will emerge from hibernation, blink at the sun and utter ‘Crikey! The gardens!’
if that sounds like you, I have great news; winter gardening can actually be productive & enjoyable.
And once you’re out there, it can be very invigorating and it’s great for your physical and mental health.
The fact is that the cooler months are a great time for making changes to and maintaining gardens. Don’t forget to check my garden guide notes for each month of the year. You can also read a heap of other free garden guides on the net, such as gardenate.com
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Moving things around:
A lot of plants can be dug out or divided and transplanted to another spot in the garden. That’s because plants are often dormant In the cooler months.. They can be shifted and replanted without being stressed, so they’ll recover or not be set back at all.
Also, the heat of summer is gone, so plants can take root and establish without being blasted by the hot sun. So they won’t dry out and often don’t mind if they do dry out.
Planting new shrubs and trees:
For the same reasons above, there are a lot of garden situations where you can plant out new things and they will have established root systems before the summer comes.
The main risk to new plantings are frost, if in a frost prone area and also over saturation of the soil with too much watering. Watering should ideally be done in the mornings and care must be taken not to drown plants with too much water. As for all times of the year, good water retention is important but good drainage is even more important. Soil is best if it is friable or crumbly, with a good balance of coarse sand and some clay, with addition of organic material such as compost or cow manure and a good layer of organic mulch on top.
Fix the soil:
You can do a lot to improve the soil at this time of the year.
So if your soil doesn’t have a balance of good water retention and good drainage, now is a good time to enhance and fortify the soil by adding things to it.
Mulch the gardens:
Mulch also keeps the soil warmer, which is important in the cooler months. And a good organic mulch on top of your soil will help the soil by building humus and keeping the soil from compacting.
Spot that onion weed and other weeds:
Keeping weeds down is a vital part of winter gardening. Onion weed, as well as other seasonal weeds, pop up at this time of year. It can make gardens and lawns a sad looking space if it’s allowed to spread. But unless you understand how to deal with it, you are best to leave it up to a professional gardener, or you can spread this noxious weed.
Basically, it can be controlled over time by using herbicides and careful hand weeding. But removing it can mean taking out all of the soil around each plant and not dispersing the tiny side bulbs as it’s removed. If you don’t get it right you’ll become an onion weed farmer with a bumper crop.
If you leave weeds until it’s cosy and warm outside, a lot of weeds will set seed and become a problem. Diligence now will keep gardens tidy and free of major weed issues.
Roses can be pruned at any time of year, unless you live in a frost prone area. Usually, they get a harder prune around July but there are different types of roses and each requires a different type of pruning. Find out what type you have and prune accordingly. Or hire a good gardener.
Plant your spring flowering annuals:
You can plant spring bulbs as late as May in a warm temperate zone such as ours in Newcastle. Follow the guide that comes with them & make sure they are pointing the right way up.
Don’t wait until spring:
Be careful not to neglect your gardens over winter. Pot plants and gardens can dry out or become over watered. Things can become a bit of a mess and weeds can grow and regenerate so that your place resembles Jumanji. Or, they can be well kept and tidy spaces which you can continue to enjoy all year round; including the cooler months.
But if you want to stay indoors and you’d rather just hire a good gardener, give me a call. I can all of the above for you and more