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Garden Maintenance: How to look after your garden this winter

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Get all the information you need on how to care for your garden this winter and get the best head start on your garden and lawn for the upcoming year!

Throughout the busy period of Christmas and New Year, when weather can be bitter and for us, staying inside beneath a warm fire can seem much more appealing than venturing outdoors, it is often easy for our gardens to be neglected and fall apart.

Yet despite how difficult winter can be, it is crucial to keep up with garden maintenance in order to keep your garden and lawn ticking over during those winter months and to ensure you don’t lose out on all the efforts you put into gardening throughout the year.

With that said, here are our top tips for how to achieve full garden maintenance this winter

 

Lawn Treatment

A stress free way of making sure your lawn will be completely protected over the winter is to get a professional winter treatment applied between months November and February. Companies, such as Greensleeves, can provide affordable lawn care services which will ensure full winter lawn maintenance and make sure all the groundwork is completed for you so you can focus on the rest of your garden.

By applying specialist liquid product to your lawn, Greensleeves will treat your lawns with essential plant nutrients, target moss, and keep all other fungal diseases at bay.

Think of it as a seasonal MOT! You can also follow up with specialist lawn treatments in the next Spring, Summer and Autumn.

 Composting

You may not have thought it, but there are actually many benefits to winter composting. Even though your compost can freeze over which stops decomposition, it is the action of freeze-thaw which will help to break down materials so that they’ll be ready for a faster decomposition in spring. Another benefit is that you’ll minimise your impact on the environment.

In order to maximise success of winter composting, it is important to maximise heat by composting in a covered bin and even insulating it with cardboard to keep the heat in. You can also speed up the composting process by regularly turning the contents of the bin. This can be done by tipping out the bin and refilling it whilst turning the contents so it composts evenly.

Plant protection

There are some measures you can take to protect your plants this winter. Half-hardy plants in pots can be protected by covering their pots in bubble wrap or fleece which will help to retain heat. For more sensitive plants, take them inside for the winter providing they can live indoors.

Another method is Mulching, which involves covering the soil’s surface with insulating materials will do a great job protecting other tender plants such as dahlias, and entire beds and borders from the cold weather. Winter or early spring is the best time to do this and many different materials can be used such as bark chippings, leaf mould, and chopped organic wheat straw. By the material creating a barrier between the cold air and the soil, they can protect the root and stem of plants and suppress the growth of weeds. Mulch material can also provide your soils with important nutrients!

 

 Treat wooden fences and doors

Harsh weather conditions in Winter can seriously damage wooden fencing and doors. Use a rainproof wood stain to prevent wooden surfaces from cracking and warping, and protect it from mold mildew and rot.

You can also prevent additional moisture causing further damage to your fencing, by keeping the spaces between your fence clear of debris, leaves and snow.

Small Jobs

Lastly, don’t forget the smaller garden maintenance methods which can really make all the difference!

 

  • Look after wildlife by leaving out nuts and seeds for birds to eat, and some loose leaves and twigs for hedgehogs to contribute to their homes. Leave out some fresh water and replace it when it starts to freeze over!
  • Prune any fruit trees, shrubs and wisteria plants to prevent or remove disease and damage.
  • Avoid walking over the grass as it can be easily damaged during winter. Place a plank down to spread your weight more evenly if you need to access a part of your garden that requires use of your lawn.

So there you have it! The best garden maintenance tips for this winter!

This post was written in  collaboration with Greensleeves, a British lawn treatment service specialising in seasonal treatments, as well as aeration, scarification and overseeding services. For more information on how to keep your lawn thriving this winter, visit Greensleeves at https://www.greensleeves-uk.com/ or call them on 0808 100 1413.

 

Help with your garden – MyGardenTeam

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

The GardenAdvice MyGardenTeam service  is a membership model designed to help you develop a garden but teaming up with our expert gardeners. Its designed to be flexible so we can carry out work such as planting with you or you could carry out the work yourself or we could carry out the work for you. The ideal is the system is flexible and offers long term ongoing support in your garden. 

The first stage is where we are now to develop an over all plan for your garden which we can work towards 

The MyGardenTeam service includes 

  • Your own gardening expert with advice by email, phone and garden visit – support from our gardening experts additional visits are charged for normally we provide a quote. But if the visit is less than on hour we do not charge 
  • Help and advice on your gardening projects and questions – provided by our expert gardeners 
  • Online calendars, SMS and email alerts on when to prune and feed your plants – when creating a plan for your garden we also create a schedule of items to do such as bulbs planting pruning etc 
  • Plant swap – swap plants with other MyGardenTeam members – in the winter all the members on the service swap plants that they do not need. Mainly these plants have come from dividing perennial plants.
  • Free lawn care up to 75 square metres – general lawn feed and weeding. For people with astro turf we normally switch to a general feed of the flower borders 
  • New – Free Tool Hire – we have a range of tools streamers, chippers etc 

for further details Click Here

Become a gardener with the GardenAdvice Gardening Course.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

Become a gardener with the GardenAdvice Gardening Course.

If you are new to gardening it can all seem a bit complicated at first with all the Latin names and the gardening terminology.
GardenAdvice.co.uk have developed a especially designed short one day course to be able to teach you all the basic skills of gardening to get you started.
The courses are being held locally thought the U.K and in your own garden cover such basic skills as pruning, correct digging methods, growing your own shrubs and creating the perfect lawn.

See some of our clients our gardening course and our MyGardenTeam service on Instagram

 

The GardenAdvice gardening course for beginners and new gardeners is available as a home course – we send one of our experts to you for the day ring us or send us an email for more details courses@gardenadvice.co.uk or telephone us on 01225 637218

 

 

The course takes place in a garden and involves both practical demonstrations and short talks aimed at giving your an introduction To all the basic skills you will need in the garden. The following areas are covered –

 

Short introduction to the history origins of gardening.

 

Basic gardening techniques such as digging, grass cutting, pruning, planting and watering.

Easy garden maintenance covers methods to make your garden easy to look after. Including weed control.

Basic construction methods covering how to lay a lawn, a small patio and decking.

Pest and diseases how to control them by using organic methods and creating a natural balance in your garden to keep them under control.

Creating special areas in your garden including a organic veg plot, fruit garden, perennial borders and water features.

Planting designs basic design techniques for garden planting to encourage all year round interest.

MyGardenTeam service – All our course include a years membership to our MyGardenTeam service so you are supported for a whole year Click Here

Looking for the ideal gardening tool for the gardener in your life this Christmas

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

If you are looking for the ideal gardening tool for the gardener in your life this Christmas here are the GardenAdvice teams top tips for ideal tools as gifts 

Spades and forks – always a welcome gift for the new gardener. Always go for quality, a good spade and fork should last a life time, As with most tools the best cost a bit more but in the long run turn out the be more cost effective than the cheaper tools. One good tip is to look for Spades and forks with wooden handles that are riveted to the head so they are replaceable as this is a sure sign of quality. 

Strimmers or weed whackers – Another great gift for the gardener in your life. Ideal for getting the grass under control in the early season after a warm wet winter. Also useful for trimming lawn edges and getting weedy areas in your garden under control. With lots to choose from a number of manufactures its best to get some expert advice on streamers and whackers so try Healthy Handyman

Watering cans – A bad watering can can smash your seedlings with a rose or head thats simply too course delivering droplets of water that will damage your seedling and the soil. The best watering cans are make by haws watering cans

Pruning knifes – A quality gardening knife will last a life time. Ideally it should have a stainless steel blade. Look for a budding or grafting knife rather than a simple plain knife. 

Secateurs – you can spend a fortune on a good pair of Secateurs. The prices range from £6 to £60. A good glue to the quality is that the blades are detachable so they are replaceable or can be sharpened. 

parthenocissus tricuspidata henryi – get plant for urban buildings

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

However well designed often new urban buildings end up with a side view of a large slab of concrete. Lots of solutions are available to create green walls but they can be expensive and take a lot of maintenance to look after. One easy solution is to use a plant called parthenocissus tricuspidata henryi – this is a self clinging climber using small suckers on the stems to attached itself to the building and slowly climb up the building. Losing it leaves in the autumn after providing a great display of autumn colour it tends note to have the same problems found with ivy grown on a building that often excludes the moisture reaching the wall and starts to dry our even modern mortars which start to crumble

 

The GardenAdvice Team have now answered well over 5 million questions since we started in later 1999

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

 

The GardenAdvice Team have now answered well over 5 million questions sine we started in later 1999. We have steady stream of questions on a whole range of gardening and gardening related subjects. At the start to get things moving our advisors asked each other questions and made requests for advice but it soon took off and now everyday we get a steady stream of questions and requests from our members and viewers. Every day brings something different and some of the questions and requests are so obvious we sometime wonder why we did not thing of them for example we where recently asked about suitable plants for a garden shared by a number of teenage footballers – so obvious as the UK is full of gardeners sharing a garden with aspiring teenage footballers and cricketers. 

To ask us for some GardenAdvice visit https://www.gardenadvice.co.uk/advisor/freeadvice/index.html

How Gardeners Can Still Keep Busy This Winter

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

If you are an enthusiastic gardener winter can be a great time to plan your coming gardening year with regards to planting new plants and sowing seeds in the spring for your next crop of vegetables. It can also be a great time to be great time to increase your garden skills and knowledge by signing up for a GardenAdvice beginners course.

 

English style gardens in warmer climates 

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

The GardenAdvice Team are often asked to to help create English country style gardens in warmer climates often with high summer temperatures and no frosts plus higher light levels. This can cause problems for lots of plants need a cold weather period and the dormant season of the winter to recover. In a climate with no real winter plants often suffer the plant equivalent of sleep deprivation and die after a few years.

As well as the selection of plants the key is often the preparation of the soil making sure it has a high level of organic mater and mulches to maintain the moisture levels and the plants access to moisture. 

Here is a list of the plants we often use in warmer climates to create a soft English style garden. 

Plants/Shrubs/climbers 

camellia

sambucus black lace

Cornus sanguinea ‘Winter Flame’

Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’ 

Ceanothus

Helleborus

Rhododendron

Acers 

Cornus scarlet fire

Genista Lydia 

Magnolia stellata

Wisteria 

Clematis armandii

Clematis jackmanii 

Actinidia kolomikta

Tree peony

Hydrangea ruby slippers

Caryopteris

Lonicera fragrantissima

Daphne auto marginata

Perennial plants 

Geranium johnsons blue

epimedium grandiflorum

Liatris kobold

Nepeta faassenii

Kalmia

Heuchera

acanthus

Salvia caradonna

Dicentra

White daisies

Scabious clive greaves 

Lonicera fragrantissima

Echinacea

Agapanthus 

Grasses 

Pampus grass

Festuca glauca 

Pennisetum Cassians Choice

A few notes on creating a garden drainage system

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Soak Aways

Firstly the only way a drainage system works is if the water has somewhere to drain to after it has been collected. A soak away is simple a means to collect a flash flood of water and the idea is that it soaks into the surrounding soil over a period of time if the soak away is constructed in a clay soil this is not going to happen. Most people just dig a soak away with no through about how the drainage water will be removed from the soak away. 

The best solution is a soak away thats linked to your surface water drains through a silt trap that collect silt in the water and stops the surface drains from becoming blocked. Other solutions possible are draining into ditches and other such structures. 

Normally and in every occasion we have come across its been allowed to drain the water into the surface drainage system as long as the water goes through a silt trap.

French drains 

French drains these are just a trenches full of stones/gravel if the problem is surface water then often the stone in the trench is extended to the surface to intercept the water as it flows over the ground or through the surface of the soil. In most French drains we construct we add a small diameter flexible pipe at the base of the trench covered by stone so the drain can be cleaned because at some stage a French drain will become blocked with silt etc 

For further information on garden drainage visit our main drainage page Click Here 

Problems with Squirrels, deer and rabbits not to mention cats and dogs

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Squirrels, deer and rabbits not to mention cats and dogs can all be a problem in the garden often they are a delight in the garden until they start eating your prize plants. Lots of solutions are available most do not work and the ones that do such as high fences and surrounding your plants with wire cages can often be expensive and unsightly.
The GardenAdvice teams preferred method of dealing with such pest problems is simply to throw cold water at them and seeing as we cannot be around all the time we use a spraying system with a sensor called PawHunt Click here for more details
Although not a perfect solution its a good start and very cost effective in most conditions. As with most solutions for damage by deer, rabbits and squirrels etc when the weather turns hard and cold extreme hunger often overcomes fear and your plants become a Unrealisable food source, so in these conditions simply feeding these critters might be your best bet and calling a cold weather Armistice for a few days