How to Prepare Your Garden for Winter
18 October 2019
The UK’s winter weather has always been relatively harsh, and extreme conditions have become more and more common in recent years. Records show that some parts of the country reached -13 degrees as recently as December 2017, and this year is set to be another cold one!
With that in mind, how are we supposed to protect our lovely outside spaces as winter draws in?
The good news is that it’s actually surprisingly easy and shouldn’t cost you a great deal. Simply follow B&M's gardening tips below to ensure that your winter garden remains healthy and beautiful.
Protect Your Plants
Winter in UK regions can bring all kinds of inclement weather, from sub-zero temperatures to strong winds, snow, hail, ice and rain, so it’s vital to learn how to protect plants from frost throughout the winter months - particularly perennials, which should survive for several years.
In order to shield your plants from the frost and wetter weather, cover them with specialist “frost fleece” - a light and porous material that keeps the soil warm enough for plants to survive. It protects them from drowning too, retaining just enough moisture for survival.
Carefully peg the material down over your plants. Uncover them every so often to check on them, and if their rooting zone seems dry, treat them to a little water before covering once again.
Our top gardening tips to protect larger stand alone varieties - or plants and shrubs in pots - is to wrap the pot or planter in bubble wrap. This will also prevent the pots from cracking due to the colder winter weather. Fleece plant protection covers can also be used as a gentle barrier.
Support Your Trees
Strong winds are much more prevalent in the winter months and can cause significant subsidence and damage - particularly to taller plants and slimmer trees.
The easiest and most effective way to prevent young trees from falling or breaking is to support them using a sturdy pole. This will enable them to keep growing throughout the more difficult weather conditions.
Keep Your Garden Tidy
One of the key elements of gardening for beginners and experts alike is to ensure outdoor spaces remain tidy and organised. Cultivating a neat winter garden can be something of a challenge however, with fallen leaves choking your plants and wind knocking over pots.
Make sure all of your plants are carefully secured, and that you are using sturdy enough equipment to do so.
You should also protect your drains from leaves and other debris by investing in a handy drain tidy that filters water through and prevents blockages.
Before the cold weather truly sets in, why not take the opportunity to place some bulbs and seeds around your garden that will turn into hardier winter plants? This will add interest to your outdoor space while your other species die back.
Plants that are more likely to survive throughout the later months of the year and into January, February and March include certain types of heather, pansies, cyclamen, viburnum, snowdrops and winter jasmine. Many of these are also great winter plants for pots.
In order to give these plants the best chance at growth, why not sieve your soil to remove debris and obstructions for their roots?
It’s a good idea to use pots and planters when adding to your winter garden, as they’ll provide more protection. Look out for sturdy designs that will withstand strong winds.
Look After the Wildlife
It’s important to protect our wildlife during winter, as the harsher, colder months can be a struggle.
Wild birds and mammals may find it difficult to access food as the temperature drops, so leaving out seeds and other kinds of food will help them. Make sure you place it well out of reach of their predators.
Suet treats are great, as they’re high in protein - which will keep up the strength of garden birds. Plus, they’re rich in natural fats to keep them warm and energized.
Birdbaths and other containers of water can be great too, as many of the natural water sources around may freeze. Take care to prevent ice forming on yours!
As everything slows down in the garden over winter, you’ll find yourself with time to prepare for next year.
Laying frost fleece over the top is a helpful step here - as once you’ve prepared your soil for the new year, you don’t want any of the new additions to be washed away or compromised by the cold.
This winter, protect plants from frost, prevent trees from tumbling, plant new bulbs, help your local wildlife and get set for the coming year. By following these steps, your outside spaces will thrive.
B&M Top Tip: Check out our Garden Centre page for more products and equipment to keep your garden lush all year round.