The ever-diminishing daylight; the sudden temperature drop; the hard, frost-covered ground. You might think the onset of winter would spell an end to your garden enjoyment for the year.
Not a bit of it! With a touch of imagination, a few extra layers, and a healthy dose of enthusiasm, there’s nothing stopping you from diving into a few important garden jobs this winter – and at the same time, savouring the great outdoors and all its glory… whatever the weather.
So, here’s a handy list of things you can get stuck into before the new year…
Keep the wildlife fed and happy!
While you’re putting your feet up on the sofa, with an endless conveyor belt of hot drinks and festive nourishment, spare a thought for the abundance of wildlife out there braving it against the elements.
Your garden will host an array of birds during the winter, and they’ll certainly appreciate any seeds, nuts and fat balls that you care to leave out for them while their usual food sources are in short supply. Be sure to freshen up water baths that might have frozen up overnight, too. Your feathered garden guests will be forever grateful.
Meanwhile, hedgehogs, an increasingly endangered animal on these shores, will find shelter and happiness if you deposit a scattering of logs and leaves at the bottom of your garden.
Create a compost heap
A good gardener always plans ahead! For the promise of healthier plants next year, introduce a dose of compost or well-rotted manure to your beds now. It can take 6-to-8 weeks to create rich, natural compost, so hopefully you’ve been decomposing all your garden and organic waste over the last couple of months. Now it’s time to see the fruits of your fertilising labours.
Simply blend nature’s good stuff into the soil with a trusty garden fork – or, if you favour a no-dig raised bed, carefully scatter it on top. If you’re worried about leaves and lighter foliage dancing around your garden when the wind picks up, and you’ve not got access to a lidded plastic bin, why not cover your compost vessel with a wire cage?
A wooden swing seat is the perfect garden feature for a relaxing afternoon in the garden – and it certainly doesn’t require blistering hot sunshine to make the most of it!
Dig out your winter coat, grab a steaming hot cup of java and your favourite book, and enjoy all the natural splendour of your garden that you’ve spent all year tending to – all the while experiencing the uncomplicated joys of a handcrafted wooden swing seat.
If you’re planning on a festive get-together this month, a carefully-positioned swing seat can be a great centrepiece for an afternoon of entertaining. Why not light up the firepit or chimera, invite some friends and family over – you could even spark up the barbecue – and appreciate some of life’s simple pleasures.
Clean your tools and equipment
Every keen gardener worth their salt knows the value of keeping their tools and equipment in tip-top shape. Now, no-one is suggesting that your favourite garden trowel needs to retain its sparkly mirror finish throughout its life-cycle, but it’s certainly worth your time and effort ensuring that your tools are kept clean.
Whether it’s shovels, pruning shears, forks, spades or other tree cutting tools, each tool contributes to the success of your garden, so it’s important to take care of your equipment with the same level of attention as you would your plant life.
From a practical point of view, cleaning your garden equipment will stop the onset of rust, will keep tool edges sharper, and remove any disease-burdened soil and sap. Winter is the perfect opportunity to indulge in some unseasonal spring cleaning!
Prune your fruit trees
Whether it’s apples, pears, plums or cherries, your bountiful garden fruit trees will remain dormant during the winter months, so it’s the ideal time to prune them back – in order for them to flourish with gusto next year!
Start by removing any rotten, diseased or damaged wood, then tackle any areas of your tree where the branches are crossing or creating friction. Remember to use all the appropriate safety gear – depending on the scale of the job – and make sure all your tools have been kept clean and sharp for best results. Always cut at a downward angle – this will help rainwater run off and limit the chances of the wood rotting!
So there we have it. Plenty to keep you busy on those wintry weekend afternoons – and even a little room for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.
Pure garden bliss!