The South West London Gardener

3 Key Do’s and Don’ts of Winter Gardening

frosty tree in winter garden

Winter is a tough time on gardens.

This is the season we say goodbye to the sunshine and long nights and say hello to frost, rain, and 5 o clock sunsets.

While some people love winter, for garden-enthusiasts, it can be a tough time.

But winter isn’t a time to be stuck inside. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can really enjoy your winter garden.

If you’re willing to wrap up warm, then it’s important you know what to do with your garden in winter, and that’s why the team at The Southwest London Gardener have created this handy guide on what to do, and what not to do, in your winter garden.

Let’s take a look.

What to Do in Your Winter Garden

Do Add a Layer of Mulch

When winter comes for us humans, we love to get wrapped up against the cold weather, and plants are no different.

They don’t have the privilege of putting on a hat, scarf, and gloves, and therefore you have to care for them in another way.

Mulch is a layer of green waste that you can lay on top of your soil to provide protection for the roots and bulbs underneath.

It can be made by combining many things, from leaves and twigs, to grass clippings and bark.

Not only does mulch add a layer of warmth, but it also provides plenty of long-lasting nutrients to the plants underneath, as well as keeping in some of the moisture picked up from snow and rain throughout the months of winter, and storing this long into summer when things dry up.

It’s a bit of a magic material when it comes to cold-weather gardening, so make sure you have plenty stored up to keep your plants healthy.

Do Care for Fragile Plants

Adding mulch does provide some protection to your plants, but for some, the months of winter are simply too much to handle.

As the temperature drops to below 10 degrees, now is the perfect time to bring in some of your more fragile plants.

Try placing them in a greenhouse or conservatory if you have one. If not, any room that stays warm and gets plenty of light will be ideal.

Plants such as gernaiums, begonias and fuscias are just some examples of plants that need a warmer climate than what is provided outside.

When bringing your plants in, make sure you provide them with everything they need to survive. Warmth, sunlight, and water are key, so think about placement carefully. This is also a great opportunity to give your plants a quick trim if they need it before bringing them inside.

Do Maintenance Jobs While You Can

Summer gardening can be a busy job.

When plants are in full bloom, constantly needing watering, and the amount of time spent outside is increasing, you may find you don’t have much time to tend to much else.

This is why winter is a great time to tick off some maintenance jobs.

Start by heading to your collection of tools. Are any broken and need repairing? Do your secateurs need a sharpen? Is your wheelbarrow looking a bit rusty.

It’s also a good time to look at your fences and other structural items, as they won’t be hidden by large plants and you will be able to get a good view of any damage that needs repairing.

While there’s not much else to do, don’t waste time and make sure that when the busier times comes in the summer, you’re well prepared with all the equipment you need to keep your garden looking and feeling healthy.

What Not to Do in Your Winter Garden

Do Not Fertilise Your Plants

Many species of plants don’t grow in winter.

This is natural, so adding things that may push them into growing too quickly could cause them harm.

This is why adding fertiliser to your plants is often seen as a bad idea in the colder months.

Plants are clever things, and they know when to grow and when to lay dormant.

While many plants are resting throughout winter, they don’t need as much fuel to stay alive. When in full bloom, plants gobble up nutrients to stay strong, but this isn’t needed in winter.

Not only that, but adding fertiliser to some plants at this time can soften the leaves and this may lead to disease.

Don’t waste your time, money, and equipment by using fertiliser when it’s not needed and only spread your fertiliser when the time is right and your plants are ready to kick into life once again.

Don’t Assume the Weather Takes Care of the Garden Itself

If you’ve lived in the UK long enough, you know that winters can be pretty wet.

While constant rainfall and frost will provide water for your plants, this doesn’t mean you can forget about them throughout.

2022 saw the driest start to the year in the UK since the 1970s.

As the weather dries up, so will your plants.

If your idea of winter gardening is staying inside next to the fire with a warm cuppa, then you could be leaving your garden without the TLC it needs.

After a few dry weeks, it’s vital you check your plants have the moisture needed to stay strong.

Having regular checks around your garden is also key to make sure everything is looking strong and not damaged.

The weather will mean there is less to do, but this doesn’t mean there is nothing to do, so keep on checking with your garden to make sure it is making it through the winter okay.

Don’t Spend Too Long on Your Grass

Your lawn has a tough time during winter.

Without the sufficient nutrients and sunlight to really make it grow, it pauses, eagerly awaiting better weather in which it can grow again.

While lawns make up a huge part of most people’s gardens, it’s a good idea to avoid yours as much as possible during winter, especially after a frost or snowfall.

This is because any damage caused to the lawn will struggle to grow back and could lead to damage that won’t be easy to heal.

Although we are saying to keep off the grass, periodical checks for weeds and to remove debris can help make the grass look tidier and feel better, but if you want to minimise the risk of any harm being caused, try to stay away.

Caring for Your Winter Garden

Our team are experienced in landscaping, design, and garden maintenance, and will help you really enjoy your garden this winter.

If you want to know more, or for a free no-obligation quote, get in touch with our team today.

We look forward to hearing from you.