The first lockdown had a lot of us digging out the gardening gloves and rediscovering our green fingers. But that was back in spring when the sun was shining, and unfortunately the prospect of gardening during a winter lockdown is, for many of us, a lot less inviting.
That’s why we have put together some PMP Approved ways to make the most of your winter garden, so whether you are a seasoned gardener or only just discovering the joys of your garden, you’ll be able to experience the great outdoors whilst staying at home this winter.
Plant winter flowers
Gardeners’ world suggests planting winter flowers such as Cyclamen coum, hellebores, snowdrops, crocus, aconites and winter iris to bring colour to your garden during these dreary months. For new and interesting scents, try planting viburnum, hamamelis (witch hazel) and daphne.
Feed the wildlife
When confined to your home, simply watching the wildlife come and go in your back garden can bring so much joy and comfort. Seriously!
Leave out seeds, nuts and fat balls and see what birds it attracts. Consider buying a bird house or even building your own as a lockdown project to give the birds a safe and sheltered area to enjoy the food.
Gardenlines.co.uk suggests leaving out minced meat, non-fish-based tinned cat or dog food and chopped boiled egg for hedgehogs. For squirrels, they suggest hazelnuts, walnuts, chestnuts, sunflower seeds and chopped carrot. You could even attract badgers with apples and pears, dried dog food, peanuts and mealworms!
Leave some water out but check it regularly to make sure it doesn’t freeze over. It is important not to leave too much food out so that the animals do not become reliant on it as a food source.
Finally, consider getting a wildlife camera! It is a great way to see what kind of nocturnal creatures are enjoying the food you left out.
Protect plants from winter damage
Protective coverings should be applied to your lovingly nurtured plants at the first signs of frost to keep them safe from winter damage. Cover up vegetable beds with landscaping fabric or cardboard if you are not planning to use them over winter, and bring potted plants inside if possible, as they are the most at risk.
However, according to Gardeners’ world, homegrown kale actually tastes better with a touch of frost!
Grow bare root plants
Winter is an excellent time to try your hand at growing bare root plants. These are plants that are sold without soil surrounding their roots. Not only is it more economical, but it brings a wide variety of plants to inject colour and life into your garden, with hedges, roses, fruit trees, perennials and shrubbery.
Do some pruning
Pruning during winter encourages the strong growth of these crumble-worthy fruits like blackcurrants, apples, pears, raspberries, redcurrants and gooseberries. It also encourages roses to flower and keeps ornamental trees neat and tidy.
Grow winter veg
Wouldn’t it be great to serve up Christmas dinner with veggies grown in your own garden? According to Gardeners’ World, Christmas staples like parsnips and Brussel sprouts can be harvested over winter, as well as kale, winter salad, leeks and winter cabbage. Garlic, raspberries and rhubarb can also be nurtured over winter to be enjoyed in tasty summer dishes next year.
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