A touch of frost
Jobs for December & January
- Move tender plants indoors and feed occasionally
- Insulate larger pot plants
- Cover vegetables
- Line greenhouses
- Prune deciduous plants if required
- Plan what you’re going to grow in spring
- Enhance fragrance and colour
An array of plants good enough to compete with those found in summer gardens are available, so there’s no reason for a drab garden in the wintertime. For the most enjoyment, plant them near the house and pathways where you will benefit from their fragrances and colour each time you open the door.
- Sarcococca hookeriana – a little evergreen shrub with deeply coloured leaf stems and little white flowers that give off a strong vanilla-like scent.
- Viburnum bodnantense – a shrub characterised by its sweet smell and numerous clusters of pink blooms which appear during these colder months of the year.
- Lonicera fragrantissima – more commonly known as the winter-flowering honeysuckle, this medium-sized shrub boasts dainty white flowers with a delightful, slightly-spicy scent.
- Parrotia persica – also known as Persian ironwood, this winter-flowering tree belongs to the witchazel family. It produces tiny, deep red flowers making it spectacular in any winter garden.
Protect from the elements
Some simple steps to help prevent your beloved plants being affected by the worst of the weather.
Knock snow off plants
Before it freezes, knock snow away from plants with a broom to prevent cold damage and broken branches.
Avoid frosted grass
Particularly when frost or snow blankets the lawn, avoid treading on it because frozen glass blades break underfoot and leave a footprint. It may also lead to compaction of the soil.
Bring tender plants indoors
Move to a frost-free location in full sun and make sure compost has dried out between watering.
Tender plants often go into a resting state during winter.
Wrap container-grown plants Tie bubble wrap, hessian sacs or similar around large potted plants in winter as a layer of insulation to prevent roots from freezing.
Tuck in and cover up veg
Use a blanket of straw to stop the ground freezing around root crops and cover, as well as placing cloches over salad plants.
Keep the greenhouse warm
Line it with bubble wrap or similar and consider a heater to warm it up, particularly during the coldest snaps.
Small garden visitors need all the help they can get during the harshest season of the year. Any garden with bird bath water that isn’t frozen will be popular and birdfeeders can be a life-saver whilst insects are in less abundance. Create a leaf pile, rock pile or compost heap at the end of your garden to provide shelter for small creatures such as hedgehogs to hibernate beneath and float a tennis ball or similar in your pond to prevent it freezing over because this reduces oxygen for frogs and fish below.