Cold. Dark. Dank. Winter is not a time that you associate with happy times in your garden. In fact, many of us put a proverbial ‘do not disturb’ sign on the space during the winter month. But, does this have to be the case? You wouldn’t, after all, shut off a whole room in your house for one season every year. It would be a waste of space.
So, what should you do to help maintain your garden throughout the winter - whilst making it more usable - and into the beauty of spring.
There is nothing quite like a Spring clean in the dead of Winter. No, really! As the plants begin to wither away due to the cold, it couldn’t be a better time to start trimming and clearing away the debris. Not only is it slightly more pleasant on the eyes, but it means that they will have a much easier time growing back next year as well. A win-win for everyone!
If you still want a touch of color in your garden over the winter, then an evergreen tree is an obvious choice. As the name suggests, they never lose their color. As most of us will also be bringing these indoors over the course of the winter - many of us had a Christmas tree, after all - they can make a great decorative piece as well as a little bit of color to the dead brown of the winter.
The fact is that when all of the other trees are losing their leaves, you don’t want to feel that your garden is altogether dead. Which is where a nice evergreen would make a world of difference.
Birds are a hardy animal, but they do struggle during the winter months - food is scarce and if they don’t bulk up well enough beforehand they can find themselves practically starved. A bird tray is vital to put nuts, seeds and even some type of grub or mealworm on if necessary. Depending on the type of birds you get in your garden it can.
Robins are one of the most familiar winter birds. Plump and red-breasted, they need all the help they can get when it comes to surviving the winter months. To help them, why not set out fruit such as apple slices, raisin, cherries and other berries.
Seeds and nuts are also perfect for a variety of other bird species likely to frequent your garden. For best results, research your garden birds to discover the best feed to leave out.
Ponds are full of life year round, even during the winter though you may not think that’s possible under a thin layer of ice; it totally is! In fact, there are many species of pond life which will bury at the bottom of a pond for warmth.
As stated, birds will be extra hungry during the leaner months and so your pond fish will be bigger targets than ever before. Which is why a netted pond should be a priority. It is a good idea year round, but especially over winter. Herons and other big birds are especially prone to this behavior and so the nets are the best layer of defence.
Frogs and other amphibians also love to live in your soil at the bottom of the pond. This is fine, except for when the pond freezes over. If that does happen, then the lifeforms at the bottom of the pond will struggle to find oxygen to live on. In this situation, breaking the ice on top of the pond for them is the only way to ensure they survive.
Yes, as crazy as it may seem, winter is the perfect time to start planning and preparing your garden for its colourful outburst in the spring. Most bulbs require a few months of growth before they will break out and spring to life in the warmer months.
In January, you can start to plant and grow species such as pansies, sweet peas, celery, onions and even rhubarb for good summer staple. Certain herbs and salad leaves can be grown year round on your window sills, such as spinach and coriander, so don’t be afraid to plant these whenever. This way you can have lots of kitchen staples at any point in the year.
February is also a great month to start planting lilies if you are fan of that flower, so be prepared for that!
At the end of the day, though the winter months may seem like they should be a time of year where you do less in your garden, you should actually be doing a lot more than you think! So, don’t be afraid to spruce up, clean and even plant things in your garden at this time of year!
Author Bio: Zack Halliwell is a freelance writer in the lifestyle niche, writing on anything from outdoor rattan furniture to best practices for saving money on your home heating bills. When not writing he can be found on long mountain walks with his dog, Batman.
I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.
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