Many people ask me with amazement what I find to do and see in the garden at this time of the year. As all gardeners know, the answer is lots! Whilst some hibernate during the dark and cold months, others are out dressed like the Michelin man, looking, pruning, digging, clearing, planting, planning and preparing for the spring and summer. The rewards later in the year make up for any aching backs and cold fingers now! John Beverly Nichols understood:
“Most people, early in November, take last looks at their gardens and are then prepared to ignore them until the spring. I am quite sure that a garden doesn't like to be ignored like this. It doesn't like to be covered in dust sheets, as though it were an old room which you had shut up during the winter. Especially since a garden knows how gay and delightful it can be, even in the very frozen heart of the winter, if you only give it a chance.”
The winter is a great time for renovation and preparation, but have a couple of different tasks on the go, then something can be done any day, regardless of the weather conditions. This morning I opened the curtains to a sea of white frost covering the garden. That isn’t unusual for mid-winter, but it thwarted my plans to dig out a congested flower bed. So, the day was spent cutting down a deciduous hedge in the hope that it will thicken out around the base when growth starts again – if you do that, take up to 1/3rd of the stems back down to the ground. Other useful jobs include preparing the vegetable plot for the spring, weeding (yes, weeds are tough), splitting congested herbaceous plants, cleaning glasshouses, pruning shrubs and trees and planting bare root plants. If the garden looks like the picture below, I suggest a cup of coffee and seed catalogues!
Happy winter gardening!