Your garden requires meticulous care all year round - and it's no different in the build-up to winter.
There are several jobs you can do to ensure that by the time spring rolls around, your garden is in top condition.
Whether it's injecting your outdoor space with some winter colour, pruning and giving your existing plants some protection, storing the compost and outdoor furniture, or planting spring flowering bulbs, there are many jobs for you - and Wyevale Garden Centres have got the tips to help you get your garden in order...
1. Winter colour
Banish the winter blues by adding some colourful winter flowers to your garden. For instance, cyclamen, pansy, polyanthas, and winter-flowering daphne. One thing to remember - if you're using ceramic pots, make sure they're frost resistant.
2. Plant spring bulbs
The sure sign that spring is well and truly on its way will be when you see the first bulbs poke their heads through the soil - then, before you know it, the warmer weather will be back. As a basic rule, planting lilies, alliums and crocosmia in October and tulips in November will be ideal timing.
3. Store summer flowering bulbs and tubers
Lifting and storing summer flowering bulbs and tubers will help them survive the winter, so they can be replanted the next year. Make sure they are completely dry before it's time to store them and keep a regular eye on them for signs of rot or damage.
4. The lawn
Provided it’s not too wet, you can scarify your lawn throughout October and then mow and aerate it well into November. If you're lucky, you might get away without mowing, unless there happens to be an especially mild spell, in which case the grass would keep growing. If your lawn gets a lot of wear and tear, you may want to think about an additional feed in autumn to rejuvenate it during the winter months.
5. Prune and protect
You should cut back the perennials that are showing no sign of dying down and prune the roses - if they are diseased, they may need spraying with a fungicide too. Be sure to give the tender plants some protection - you can do this by warming them with horticultural fleece or bubble wrap (it may not look professional, but it works).
Certain evergreens are recognised for their flowers and strong scents, and have the advantage of keeping their leaves through winter.
If you have some unopened bags of compost, leave them under cover or off the ground to limit the chance of rain getting in. If you have any unopened bags of compost, they could end up contaminated by microorganisms, so make sure you don’t use them for sowing seeds or cuttings next year, but instead to work into the garden to improve the soil.
8. Outdoor accessories
Be sure to store your barbecues and outdoor furniture in your shed during the winter months. By invest in a specially made breathable cover to protect your furniture and be sure to clean and dry it before putting it away too. Another tip - make sure you leave no furniture on the grass, as it will create moisture, resulting in damage.
9. Garden tools
Remove the mud from spades and forks, or even dip the blades in warm soapy water prior to drying if they are caked in it. You can also clean and oil metal blades before putting them away for the winter months, as it helps them to avoid rust.
10. Sweep up
By sweeping up the leaves, you can turn them into leaf mould – this is an environmentally friendly and cost effective method to enrich the soil. You can fill a dustbin bag with leaves, and then wet them as a way of helping them to rot down. By tying up the bag, you can punch holes in it with a fork to store them somewhere such as behind a shed - or at the back of shrubs. After a year or so, this leaf mould will become a great weed suppressing mulch, and two years down, you'll have a fine mould which is perfect for soil conditioning and making compost.
Image courtesy of Wyevale