Winter Tasks in the Garden
… there’s no time to be lazy
• There is no need to give up the pleasure of a decorative balcony during the cold season. Pots and containers can be decorated with branches of tree of life, yew, boxwood, fir or spruce. Branches with fruits such as rowan, cotoneaster sloe and ilex are just as popular with birds as commercial birdseed.
If wet snows settles on plants, gently brush it off the plants. Do this carefully, because frozen stems can break easily. But a blanket of loose snow holds warmth.
Protect evergreen perennials such as Christmasand cyclamens with a covering of twigs or dry foliage during long period of frost.
Check container plants in their winter quarters once a week for pests and diseases. Water if necessary and keep well ventilated.
Keep bags of plant compost and watering cans indoors, so that they do not freeze and even burst. Turn off any water connections.
On frost-free clays from January onwards, put Mediterranean plants such as rosemary or bay in wind-protected positions outside. This will harden them off and make them more resistant to attack from pests. But don’t forget to bring them in again.
From mid-January sew seeds in trays on the window-sill of early vegetables, annuals and container plants, for example salads, pelargoniums, begonias,, palms, strelitzias and bananas.
Don’t give up on vitamins during the winter. With bean sprouts and greenin bowls or glasses this is easily done. Chives can be grown on the window-sill and picked when needed.
In February cut back summer-blooming shrubs on frost-free days, including forsythia,, whistle-shrub, guelder rose and deutzia. Spring-flowering shrubs on the other hand should only be pruned after flowering.
Even in winter evergreen plants need watering on frost-free days. During winter remove under-trays from containers to avoid thebecoming .