Friday, 25 January 2013 11:27

Time to take stock

Many people think that gardening stops during winter.  Too cold, right?

Whilst physical activity certainly reduces (especially when fingers have gone numb!), there is still plenty to do. Winter is an important time for taking stock, assessing what worked and what didn’t and planning for the year ahead. Winter is the time to look critically at your borders and ask tough questions:

Has that shrub got too big? Do I really like that plant I got on sale for 50p? Didn’t those two clash together? Do I really need 15 day lilies?

This is the point where, if you haven’t made notes or taken photos during the year, you’ll wish you had; these can be invaluable when staring at a bit of bare soil thinking “what on earth was growing there?” The mind plays tricks, too, persuading you that what was there was half the size. Surely room to squeeze in another dahlia?! 


With the structure of the garden laid bare it is much easier to see how a bit of re-jigging could improve matters. Thinning out and letting more air circulate between plants will help prevent mildew and fungal infections. Lifting and dividing perennial plants gives them a new lease of life and new plants can then be grown from the leftovers. Let’s face it, the sight of a neglected shrub with long leafless branches and a forlorn flower hanging on grimly at the end is never a good one. Strategic pruning of dormant trees and shrubs in winter allows you not only to control the shape and size of the plant but also to vastly improve flowering and fruiting.


And if you’re thinking “there’s still loads of time for all that”, just remember that when winter comes, spring isn’t far behind......

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