As temperatures drop and we look out our cosiest winter coats, taking care of our gardens might not be at the forefront of our minds. However, Dobbies, the UK’s leading garden centre, says that winter shouldn’t be a time of gardening shut down and, in fact, there are jobs to be done that will prep our outdoor spaces for the new year. Looking after your garden now, will save money and time in the long run.
Whether you’re looking to get planting, inject some winter colour into your garden, or protect your bedding plants, Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles has some tips on how you can look after your garden this winter and prepare it for a blooming good 2023. Find out what gardening jobs you can do this winter and how you can appreciate the beauty of the outdoors regardless of the season.
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When it comes to tidying up our gardens in winter, Marcus advises that this is the time we should be cutting back our herbaceous plants and getting rid of a lot of the debris around them. Marcus says we should try leave some of the seed heads and branches for structure though as these will add to the beauty of your garden in winter when the first frost sets in. Leaving some debris around your plants will also provide a sanctuary for wildlife to protect them against the elements and will give insects a place to lay eggs.
Marcus says you shouldn’t need to mow your lawn in winter however, you should remove any fallen dead leaves as soon as possible as these will block air and sunlight; two things that grass needs to survive.
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Marcus says that mulching is one of the most important jobs in winter as this will protect your plants from the elements. To ensure good soil health and protect your plants’ roots when temperatures drop, Marcus advises mulching well with Bloomin Amazing or Dobbies’ award-winning own brand peat free compost. Mulching will insulate your plants and enrich the soil, however, your more tender plants will benefit from frost protection fleece or placing in a cold frame or grow-house during a particularly harsh winter cold snap.
Instant winter colour
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Refreshing your containers and hanging baskets is a great way to give your garden a burst of instant winter colour and Marcus says that the hardy Skimmia rubella is a fantastic choice for this, with its beautiful red flower buds that look like berries. Winter heathers are great value and a lovely option for brightening containers at this time of year, and Marcus suggests planting these in pots at your front or back door. Don’t forget to use ericaceous John Innes compost for both these plants.
To frame your doorway in winter and add a welcome touch of greenery to your garden, dwarf Conifers can be planted in pots – just make sure your container is large enough to give the Conifer roots room to grow. The compact Flowering Box (Sarcococca) and Bay trees can also be planted at your door in winter and will breathe life into your containers, plus, can be adorned with twinkling lights for a festive touch as we approach Christmas.
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Although a lot of people might think that winter is a time for garden shut down, Marcus says there is still plenty of options for those who want to do some planting. Winter-flowering Violas and Pansies can be planted through the autumn and winter and will survive the cold temperatures, giving you a beautiful display of flowers right through until spring.
Viburnum tinus is another wonderful choice for winter flowers and will add interest and a beautiful fragrance to your pots and borders. This resilient shrub can withstand harsh winter temperatures and will produce eye-catching pink buds that open to white flowers from October to March.
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Another important job for during the winter months is pruning roses to ensure any harsh weather doesn’t interfere too much with them. Marcus recommends taking the stems down by half to stop the wind catching plants as much over winter, and then in spring, he suggests pruning back fresh new shoots which will give nice structure for the plants ready to flower next year.
Established in 1865, Dobbies is now the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, with 74 stores. Dobbies operates 69 mainline garden centres and five little dobbies. Dobbies exist to enrich people’s lives and nurture connections between people, the community and the environment. Dobbies is proud to be a supporter of #TerraCarta, launched by HRH The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative.