November in the garden
Create your own winter wonderland
With the coming of November, our busy summer days of busily tending to our abundant gardens suddenly seem like a distant memory and we think instead of the bitter winter months to come. It’s tempting to leave your garden to fend for itself in the harsh season ahead, but prepping your outside space for the inevitable chilly weather will help it in the long run, plus clever planting can give you a beautiful winter space with bold red and green pops for your very own Christmas wonderland.
Autumn brings a flurry of leaves and golden debris mashed into our patios. While it’s difficult to control the shedding of leaves and hard to keep on top of the autumnal weather, it’s worth waiting until the trees are completely bare before doing one fell swoop leaf clearing session. Broom away all debris, then blast with a pressure washer to keep your paving clean and clear during those frosty months ahead that can get slippery. Also, head around the garden to check for loose fence panels that could cause problems if the weather turns wild.
Winter may mean that the trees are bare and that your flowers have shrivelled, but it doesn’t mean that your garden has to be dormant. Some shrubs produce a feast of bright berries, adding colour and food for hungry birds. Rosehips are a good place to start, as well as the low-maintenance cotoneaster. For a bright Christmas red, opt for the midwinter fire shrub with its vibrant flame-coloured stem. Heather adds a pretty pink and lilac pop, while the hellebores, or the Christmas Rose flower beautifully in midwinter.
When you’ve put your garden to bed, it can look a bit on the plain side, but evergreen shrubs can ensure your garden maintains its colour as well as structure, no matter the season. Bushes also provide a fantastic frame from which to hang fairy lights. Not just for Christmas, twinkling lights can add a bit of intrigue to your garden and light the paths in a magical glow during those long winter nights.
Protecting Your Plants
The cold is on its way, so make sure you compile a list of all your sensitive plants and pop them into a conservatory or greenhouse for winter protection. Plants like cannas perennials are exotic creatures that thrive in warmer conditions, so get ahead of the game and cut the flower stalk at the soil line after the plant shrivels back into itself, and allow the plants to go dormant by spreading mulch over the soil. Come spring they’ll be ready to end hibernation and come back to life. Another top tip is to wrap horticultural fleece around trunks and spread mulch around bark to help exotic palms and plants like Japanese maples, to protect them from the root.
Get Ahead Of The Game
Now is actually the time to think about spring and the gorgeous plants that come to life this time of the year, from snowdrops to croci to daffodils. Make sure your soil is fertilised and dig in lots of sharp sand to make sure that excess water can be drained. Be sure to plant your bulb at two or three times the depth of the bulb itself and leave enough space either side of the bulb.
The Christmas Wreath
The cherry on the cake to your winter garden, opt for a tasteful wreath to adorn your front door. Go classic with pine cones and tied with red ribbon, or think modern with a minimalist style. A Christmas wreath is also a great time to get creative. Take inspiration from your newly created winter garden, stealing twigs, holly, and pruned plants to put together a mesmerising wreath that you can hang proudly from your front door.