In an unsurprising start to the year, we’re back in a national lockdown. And although this lockdown is very different to the one we experienced last spring, being in the midst of winter, there’s actually still plenty that you can do in the garden if you’re in need of a little green therapy – and I’m here to inspire you with 10 exciting ideas (in addition to the 23 winter lockdown gardening ideas I recently published!).
1. Sow sweet peas. Imagine that dreamy summer fragrance in your own garden! Sow your seeds early in the winter, and plants will be stronger, healthier and give you more blooms! You can also avoid mildew on summer plants, by bringing forward the blooming season in this way.
2. Plant a snowdrop garden. Now is the time to buy bulbs ‘in the green’, which is basically a growing bulb with foliage on top. They establish far better than dry bulbs. Grab some single or double-flowered in the green, or treat yourself to a super fancy one, here’s a few currently on eBay!
3. Plant some roses. It’s the perfect time right now to plant any bareroot plants, as they’re dormant and will establish much quicker and easier. I’ve been trying out the fabulous patio Roses from Danish breeder Roses Forever. Proves you don’t need a big garden to enjoy lovely Roses!
4. Make some rosehip syrup. I have been waxing lyrical about my own rosehip syrup for weeks! It is just beautiful, like drinking the hedgerow, and packed of vitamins too. Pick rosehips now, as the frosts will have softened them too. Here’s the recipe I used, and it’s delicious with proseccco by the way!
5. Boost your immunity with fire cider. I have been busy in the kitchen this winter. I recently made a batch of ‘fire cider’, which is cider vinegar steeped with garlic, ginger, horseradish, onions and turmeric. It is INVIGORATING, and delicious with cloudy apple juice! Here’s the recipe.
6. Tidy your garden. The autumn leaves have fallen, but chances are you haven’t cleared them away (I’ve only just done it).. Remove any fallen leaves from lawns and borders, and pack into bags and hide them somewhere. They’ll become mulch within just a few months!
7. Move plants! Yes, you can move plants in the garden, but don’t get into the habit of it. If you REALLY need to, now is the time to do it. Winter dormancy means you’ll be lifting and re-planting the plants whilst they’re fast asleep!
8. Plant some sexy strawberries. Now is a good time to get some fruit plants started off, and Strawberries are a great choice for beginners. Hundreds of varieties to choose from, from big voluptuous berries to the delicate, flavourful Mara de Bois!
9. Plant bulbs, but don’t leave it too late. Ok, you’re technically too late to plant, BUT they will still grow, albeit blooming slightly later. Chances are your bulbs will have some shoots on already, so be careful when planting. You may need to plant them a tiny bit deeper to accomodate the growth too.
10. Plant up a patio pot. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean there aren’t things in bloom. Pop along to your local garden centre, or order online, and you can soon have designer pots full of primroses, pansies and the like!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.