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© 2005-2018 David Howlett

Welcome!

Gardening is a fascinating and rewarding hobby or profession. Having said that, there are times when it can also be frustrating!

To the left, you will find a selection of Links that should alleviate disappointments, give you a few ideas and get more from your garden.

The Garden Focus section covers all you will need to develop your garden.

We have long been aware of the many benefits of gardening, keeping us active in both body and mind to name but two. The garden itself benefits us in many other ways and today, one of the most significant benefits is that our gardens have become a vital custodian within the landscape we all live in. A wide range of wildlife is looking to our garden for refuge and even survival. As more of our countryside is built upon the garden can only gain in significance. The Wildlife section looks at a range of ecological issues to help us, as gardeners, lend a hand.

WINTER IN THE GARDEN

The jobs we should be getting on with,
or at least think about getting on with!

Winter can be unpredictable for the gardener,
but one thing is for sure ...it’s not as hectic!

Early Winter Early Winter Mid Winter Mid Winter  Late Winter Late Winter

When is it Winter for you?
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Whats the weather up to?

I also have a website featuring my paintings - perhaps you might like to visit!

MyArtwork!

Trees, Shrubs and Roses:

Early WinterIts the time of year to get bare-rooted deciduous trees and bushes. Providing the soil is not wet and sticky or frosted plant them straight away. If the ground is not suitable then ‘heel’ or store until conditions improve. You can still take hard-wood cuttings. Check your plants after very windy weather and firm-in and re-stake if necessary. Cut away dead, broken or damaged branches. If the weather is amicable, i.e. not too wet or cold, you can still carry out winter soil cultivations, (single/double digging).
Mid WinterAs above but soil cultivations should really be finished by now. Spur-prune wisteria and cut-back wall shrubs. Prune flowering hedges.
Late WinterConclude the planting of deciduous plants providing the soil is not wet and sticky or frosted. If the ground is not suitable then heel them in until conditions improve. Give your trees and shrubs a top dressing of Bonemeal and lightly fork-in, being careful to avoid damaging any roots. When the flowers are wilting on winter-flowering shrubs prune as required. Remove suckers growing at the base of trees. Lightly fork over the soil that was dug in autumn or early winter in preparation for spring planting.

Herbaceous Perennials, Annuals and Bulbs:

Early WinterIf the weather is amicable you can still carry out winter soil cultivations. Many gardeners use plant catalogues to buy their cuttings or seed and this is when they will be using them...making their spring orders for seed and plug-plants. The internet is also becoming popular to make an order for spring! If you have stored chrysanthemums, dahlias etc. check to see if any are rotting and remove. Remove fallen leaves from around the crowns of biennials or seedlings in the border to avoid rotting and firm-in after heavy frosts. Plant hardy lilies.
Mid Winter Continue to browse the catalogues or net for spring orders and continue to check plants  stored over the winter. Give the soil a light dusting of bonemeal around emerging bulbs and, carefully, lightly fork-in.
Late WinterIf the soil is not frosted or too sticky divide your herbaceous perennials such as lupins and delphiniums. Lightly fork over the soil that was dug in autumn or early winter in preparation for spring sown annuals. Sow half-hardy annuals in a cold frame or greenhouse. Sow hardy annuals in-situ for - such as sweet peas for example.

The Lawn:

Early WinterIf the weather is amicable you can still carry out winter soil cultivations in preparation for a new lawn. Providing it’s not too wet and the ground is not frosted, continue to prepare the soil when sowing a lawn from seed in the Spring. Turf can still be used to make a lawn but again, only if the soil is not too wet or frosted. Apart from ‘Luxury’ lawns, with the blade/s of your mower set at it’s late autumn level, cut the grass as required...but not if the ground is very wet or soft and not if the grass is coated by frost. The Rotary mower is also good for removing leaves from the lawn! It chops them up and mixed with the grass cuttings can be added to the compost heap - or simply left in bags and lightly forked into the borders a few months later.
Mid Winter Gently rake any leaves or debris off the lawn.
Late WinterProviding the weather is not too cold or wet, cut the grass as required. Lightly fork over and rake level the soil that was dug in autumn or early winter in preparation for laying turf. Providing it’s not very wet or cold, allow at least two weeks before the turf is laid to allow the soil to settle.

Fruit and Vegetables:

Early WinterIf the weather is amicable, you can still carry out winter soil cultivations. This is the best time of year to carry out the formative pruning of free standing apple or trees / bushes as vegetative growth will be stimulated. Established or restricted apples or pears are best pruned late summer or early autumn as pruning then will encourage fruiting. If ‘Big-Bud’ mite is noticed on blackcurrants, (abnormally large buds) remove them and burn. Its almost the time of year to get bare-rooted fruit trees and bushes. If the soil is not right for planting, ‘heel’ them in till the soil dries out. Harvest your cauliflowers, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, leeks, celery, carrots and onions. Use cloches to protect winter lettuces and spring cabbages.
Mid Winter The winter pruning of apple and pear trees should be concluded by the end of mid-winter. Apply an organic fertilizer high in potash, such as bonemeal, around all your fruit bushes and trees and lightly fork-in. Plant rhubarb and force existing rhubarb clumps by covering crowns to provide early, milder tasting stalks. Use cloches to protect and warm the soil ready for early spring sowing. Plant shallots and transplant autumn sown onions towards the end of mid-winter.
Late WinterConclude the planting of bare-rooted fruit. Prune raspberries. As with apples and pears prune gooseberries and black, red and white currants now to help the formation of vegetative growth. Lightly fork over the soil that was dug in autumn or early winter in preparation for spring sowing or planting.

The Water Garden:

Early Winter Feed fish only if they are still active - during mild weather - but only give enough food that can be completely consumed in ten minutes, remove any that hasn't. Avoid the surface of ponds freezing-over completely during very cold weather. The water will soon become toxic to all life, i.e. invertebrates, amphibians as well as the fish if the gasses from decaying plants, excrement etc. are prevented from escaping from the water. Keep the pump on if there is one - at least for part of the day and keep the bubble-stone running if you have one. If you do not have these appliances then drop several balls into the pond - it’s better than nothing and unless in extreme cold will provide un-frozen gaps around the balls. Place plastic bottles half-full of boiling water on the surface of frozen ponds to create melted gaps and allow the gases to escape.
Mid WinterAs above.
Late Winter As above.

Containers:

Early WinterKeep an eye on your permanent containers, i.e. containerized trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Ensure there is adequate drainage and that the container bases are not clogged by decaying fallen leaves and debris. Remove fallen leaves from the surface of containers. Remove dead or dying leaves from any plant in a container.
Mid WinterAs above.
Late Winter As above.

The garden in winter

The information on this website is provided by David Howlett - a qualified Gardener, Garden Designer and Tutor. Whilst studying at Writtle College his design for a garden for less-abled people was exhibited at their stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. His gardening business ran for fourteen years. Over recent years David has concentrated on, "Spreading the word" and is now a Tutor of Horticulture. In order to help give an insight into this vitally significant and diverse subject, he developed a course he called 'Window to the Garden.' The course has been very popular since it’s launch and much of the information supplied here is based upon it. His latest course, 'Gardening for Wildlife' forms the basis of the wildlife section. He also helps the young students on their vocational horticulture courses run by Writtle Horticultural College, in conjunction with The Plume School, Maldon, Essex.

 

 

Based in Essex, England About Links Courses Contact
HA Home HowlettArtwork on Facebook! Follow HowlettArtwork on Twitter!
The Soil The Plant The Wildlife The Seasons Seasonal Planting Planting Combinations
Sense Appeal! Garden Focus WttG Visitors' Gardens Garden Beauty Garden Questions NPTC Courses