Tuesday 17 November 2015

How to Love a Winter Garden.

Winter isn’t the obvious season for gardening, but it’s a great time to get things done. Think about it. There’s no grass cutting, no pests to battle with and you aren’t a slave to weeding. Plus, as long as it’s not pouring with rain or freezing cold, gardens can be as lovely and peaceful to potter in for a few hours in January as they are in June, - just in a different way. This is when to catch up on things you always put off. It’s when you can plan a bigger project and see it through without so many distractions. And it’s only the perfect season for getting a headstart on the basics to make life a little bit easier come spring. But the best reason of all to garden in winter is how sad and neglected everything seems if you don’t. So dig out your wellies, pull on a hat and go to it!

Be Creative

Every garden has problem patches. It might be a flower bed that isn’t the right shape or an ugly corner you’re never happy with. In winter, you can see the skeleton of your garden and make changes without too much disruption and, if it all goes wrong, you’ve got time to fix it before spring. Start a gardening notebook now for inspiration and practical ideas – great if you’ve got some early planting in mind or you’re thinking about putting in bulbs. Take pics and keep track of your progress. And be bold. One thing’s for sure in a garden, unless you do something brutal with chemicals or concrete, it will always grow back.

Take A Seat

You might not have roses to smell in winter, but you do have more time to let your imagination run wild. Find the perfect spot for a garden bench and, even in the middle of February, you’ll be surprised how nice it is to be outside with a cup of tea early on a weekend morning. Get into the habit of grabbing every bit of sun there is and it’s as good as meditation, we promise. And it’s not time-wasting if you’re planning the garden while you’re sitting, is it?

Enjoy The View

If you want to make more of your garden all year round, winter’s the best time to create an outdoor room. External, glazed bi-fold doors open out a kitchen or living room quickly and easily so you’ve got more light inside and you can be creative outside. You might want to until it’s a bit warmer to spark up the barbecue. But now’s the time to start collecting pretty pots and planning a container garden so you’ve got lush and gorgeous planting ready for spring. And a wonderful view of the garden is nearly as good as being out there when the weather’s too wild for the real thing.   

Get Ready For Spring

Organising the garden in winter is surprisingly satisfying. And a bit of time spent caring for favourite (and expensive to replace) hand-tools is always worthwhile. Sharpen blades, fix handles, oil moving parts and give everything a good clean. If you have tools you don’t use, donate them to a local community garden – or sell them. And even total novices feel like seasoned professionals after tidying out a shed, getting rid of unnecessary clutter, giving terracotta plant pots a brush-up and rationalising all those small, useful bits and pieces like string, wire-ties, labels and canes.

Plant Something Pretty Right Now

Don’t stick to pottering in winter, you can plant too. Bulbs are a brilliant and cheerful start to the year and if you haven’t remembered to get your snowdrops and crocus in by October, you still have time to plant tulips and hyacinths in November, December and early January. The really ambitious could make this winter the one to design a ‘Bulb Bed’ for flowers from January right through to September. And, at the opposite end of the scale, you can plant most bulbs successfully in average size containers on a patio or even a windowsill. And if you’re truly dedicated, force hyacinths indoors for Christmas, they smell wonderful, look amazing and you can plant them outside for early colour next year.

And there’s another plus to showing your garden more love in winter: it’s great exercise. Even something simple like raking leaves or digging over a flower bed can burn 350 calories per hour. That’s about the same as an hour’s cycle and a lot more than sitting staring sadly at the weather and wishing it was spring.

*Collaborative Post.

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