How to Care for Your Garden During Winter
Winter can feel like a miserable time for your garden, with the floral and bright summers a distant memory. Unfortunately, torrential rain and dark evenings are here to stay for a while, meaning you’ll most likely need to carry out your winter gardening work at much earlier times than normal – to make the most of the natural light.
You might not think it, but there are still a number of jobs to carry out in your garden during winter, most in preparation for spring. And depending on your experience ‘Winter Gardening’ might seem a daunting task if you are not well-equipped to do so.
Here we outline some of the key jobs to ensure the health of your garden during the winter and why they’re important steps to take. But first …
Did You Know there are Winter Bumblebees in Ireland & The UK?
According to Biodiversity Ireland and the All Ireland Pollinator Plan Polinators.ie
We need to keep an eye out for Winter Bumblebees. As advised by Úna Fitzpatrick ‘The normal life-cycle of most Irish bumblebees ends when the workers and males die off and the newly mated queens hibernate through the cold Winter months. However, in recent years, the Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) has been seen foraging during winter months in both Ireland and Britain.’
It’s not known what is causing this. But you can show your support and help improve all our knowledge and understanding by letting The National Biodiversity Data Centre know if you spot winter-active bumblebees. To do this just submit any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre (link).
Further Reading: 6 Gardening Tips: Preparing Your Garden for Autumn and Winter
Winter Gardening – How to Care for Your Garden During Winter
Winter Gardening – Removed Dead or Diseased Plants
If you haven’t done so by now, and whilst the majority of your plants are perfectly fine left alone to rot and replace the nutrients in the soil, some may harbour disease and act as a risk to neighbouring plants if not dealt with correctly.
Winter garden plant photo by Laura Adai
Keep a keen eye on your plants and inspect them for any changes in shape, colour or function – examine the leaves, stem, branches and roots if needed. To deal with these issues, remove the dead stem and prune any of the infected branches, ensuring they are not left in the garden and are disposed of correctly.
Winter Gardening – Plant Bulbs
There are a number of colourful winter plants you can plant during the months of October, and even November, which will ensure you get some winter colour in your garden during the months of January and February, from snowdrops and daffodils to iris’s and crocuses.
Snowdrops photo by Yoksel Zok
However if you’re a little late to the garden party, fret not as there’s still time to get some bulbs in the ground before December and January hits, to ensure you get some spring colour. Tulips for example can be planted in December and they bring with them a beautiful array of colours. The idea is to get the bulbs into the ground before the frost comes so your little bulbs can put down roots.
Note: If you dug up and stored bulbs from the spring, now is the time the plant them in the garden once again. Plants like tulips and daffodils are always ready to be placed back into the soil for the following season.
Winter Gardening – Clean and Sharpen your Gardening Tools
Ensuring your tools are efficient for the job at hand is essential when undertaking garden maintenance. Equipment that is both clean and sharp is much safer for your plants and yourself; they also handle better, meaning you are more likely to get cleaner cuts.
Gardening tools photo by Yael Gonzalez
Work your way through the tools in your shed or greenhouse, oiling up your chainsaw and lawn mower, fixing loose handles on spades and sharpening your secateurs. If your tools are looking a bit worse for wear, it may be time to get yourself some new power tools, to ensure that your garden is kept in tip-top shape and your plants do not become riddled with disease.
Winter Gardening – Provide Feeders for Local Wildlife
Feeding birds during the winter months is highly beneficial for the wellbeing of your garden, encouraging a variety of wildlife to your green space. It also ensures the birds stay alive and well until spring, where they can help to reduce the insect population – which can be a serious threat to your plants.
Bird Feeder photo by Max Burchill
Birds can be attracted easily using feeders, particularly those containing fat balls, nuts or seeds. Any water should be changed frequently to avoid it freezing over or becoming contaminated. You should also keep an area of the garden untidy to attract hedgehogs – collecting logs or fallen leaves can make for the perfect shelter.
PIN: Winter Gardening – 4 Ways to Care for Your Garden in Winter