Winter Tips From Our ‘Garden Man’

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Quote Of The Month

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.

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Hi, my name is Vincent. I’m a Horticulturist which is my profession, as well as landscaping. I have been doing this type of work for many years now and can honestly say I never get bored of my job, as there are different aspects to gardening and everyday there is always something new to look forward to and do. I do all types of landscaping works from the design of the garden to the physical completion of the design. There’s a great sense of satisfaction when you have a design in your head and then apply it to the land.. If you have any queries on the services I provide as in garden maintenance, or landscape design/works, you can contact me by email gardener@live.ie

I will try and give you a few ideas on what might need to be done in your garden, however no two gardens are the same so not everything in this particular article will apply to your garden, but hopefully you will pick up a few tips………if not in this article maybe next month.

Lawns & Hedges

Weather is still mild so the grass is still growing as will still need to be cut, rake up leaves from lawns or use a rotary lawnmower to collect the leaves. Give hedges there final trimming. In winter you can buy bare-rooted  deciduous plants – (plants with no leaves or flower) which are cheaper than potted plants. Avoid walking over frosted lawns as this can damage the lawn causing it to go brown or even die. A good idea would be to have a path way in the lawn, stepping stones would be a very cheap and simple option. improve drainage in the lawn by spiking.

Flower Garden

Most herbaceous plants are finished flowering now so these can be cut to the ground & clippings can be used for composting, some may need to be dug up and divided if they are more than 3 years old, this will help keep the plant healthy, & also a great way of saving money if you want to use the plant else where in the garden or maybe exchange with friends, do this only in dry, frost free conditions.. keep dead heading floral carpet roses to promote longer flowering, take hardwood cuttings of roses, and root in a sheltered bed. Mulch all borders if weather allows. Move container plants into a sheltered spot. buy wall flowers and plant immediately for spring bedding & get going on planting your spring bulbs now for a brilliant display in the spring, finish planting bulbs by November but later will do if needs be!! move misplaced shrubs/trees if the soil is workable!!! prune established shrubs and trees and shape young specimens. cover early rhodo’s with fleece to protect flower buds against frost damage.

Water Garden

Net ponds to keep out fallen leaves, if the leaves blow into the pond they will rot and pollute the water. protect fish if any from predators insuring the netting is secured and buried all around the pond.Do not feed fish they’ll live on there reserves.. transplant tender aquatic plants to a frost free place for the winter, water pumps can be taken out of the ponds now cleaned and put into a dry place for the winter. thin oxygenating plants, to do this cut out surplus growth leave the cuttings by the water so the water creatures can go back into the water.

Vegetable/Fruit Garden

Start planning on next years crop rotation, create a seed bed early in the winter and use a plastic sheeting to cover the area this in turn will warm the soil for early crops, keep weed seedlings at bay, if you have goose berries or Autumn – fruiting berries the canes can be pruned to 2-3in. winter pruning can start now, cut back any dead, damaged, diseased wood to healthy live wood, for those of you who have apple trees wait till later in the winter for pruning when they are completely dormant.

Making A Vegetable Plot

Choosing the best place to grow vegetables is important, it can make the difference between success and failure, some factors to keep in mind to help make your patch a success, sun & shade, good drainage, soil type, shelter. Once you have selected your site remove all weeds. especially roots, rake the ground level. mark out the plot as a square, divide this into two quarters by marking out two central paths about 2 ft wide crossing at right angles in the centre. edge the beds with treated boards, making sure they are firmly in the ground. use old patio slabs or brick as a surface for the paths these would be a permanent surface, or wood chippings would do as a temporary surface!!  allocate your beds 1,2,3 or 4 for crop rotation, prepare as follows bed 1 – fork in rotted manure for peas & beans bed 2 – fork in garden compost and fertilizer for potatoes, bed 3 – rake in a fertilizer for a root crop, bed 4 – fork in compost and fertiliser for brassicas ( cabbages) rake level and you are now ready for planting.

Winter Baskets

For a colourful winter display try mixing the following plants for contrast..  skimmia japonica ‘ rubella’, Heuchera  ‘palace purple’  varigated ivy to trail down around the pot  and some winter pansies Viola Ultima Scarlet. Plants looking good now

Viburnum davidii
Cornus alba ( dog wood)
Viburnum tinus eve price
Contoneaster ( for berries)
Winter heathers

In next months article I will be talking about winter pruning, more on preparing a vegetable plot & what vegetables to start planting, ideas for hanging baskets/ pots/containers for the festive season, transplanting, and more….

Until then,

A Garden Man