Getting Your Garden Ready For Spring
January 19, 2017
The classic winter garden usually brings to mind images of strong evergreen topiary and frosted seed heads, set prettily against a crisp blue sky with sharp early morning light sparkling through. Unfortunately the UK winters are now so unpredictable that we cannot guarantee those cold and clear sunny mornings that warrant planting a garden solely for its winter seed heads. My own garden is full of late summer colour which will continue flowering up to the first frosts. We have had quite a damp soggy winter this year so I am going to cut the seed heads down and feed and mulch it with well rotted manure to prepare it for the summer next year instead. This will leave the garden looking rather empty over the winter but I can cope with that as long as I know that the earth is getting ready for a fabulous spring under a blanket of ‘black gold’ as manure is otherwise known.
If you garden in a Mediterranean way with gravel and scree then adding more gravel to the garden gives the same effect as an organic mulch. Most of these plants are very happy on a lean diet, so this method will work perfectly as they don’t require much of a boost.
Another important job for Feb is to prune your late flowering clematis. Take them back to a pair of strong buds around 20cm from ground level. Do not touch any early flowerers like Montana though; they flower on last year’s growth so if you cut them back now you will lose the flowers this year.
Other jobs that you might like to tackle before and during the winter:
-Tie in climbing plants to make sure they are secure and the wind doesn’t damage them over the winter, this is especially important for climbing roses.
-Rake up autumnal fallen leaves out of the borders and off lawns and compost to provide an organic mulch next year. Leaf mould is a great soil improver and information about how best to make this can be found at www.rhs.org.uk
-Clean your pots. It isn’t the most pleasurable of jobs but will help to keeps pests and diseases at bay next year. If you are lucky enough to have somewhere frost free to store them do so after cleaning.
-Don’t forget to keep feeding the birds over the winter as well, they really rely on help from humans over these cold winter months. If you put up a nest box around January /February they will also have time to check it out and may well decide to use it come the spring.
-The end of winter is the perfect time to get your shed ready for Spring when you’ll spending much more time in the garden. Windows battered by a harsh winter are easily replaceable from Cut My Plastic.
Kate Gould is an award winning garden designer. Find out more at www.kategouldgardens.com