Preparing Your Garden For Winter’s Arrival

So it’s that time of year again; the time of year when we see the vibrant summer colours rapidly fade from our gardens. During summer, we put in so much time and effort to ensure our gardens look clean, charming and colourful each summer so this year, don’t let your hard work disappear as fast as the sunshine!

Garden Oasis have dug-deep for this one because we want to offer you the best tips and advice around on how to protect your garden as the temperatures begin to drop.

As the busy summer gardening season quietens down, use this time to take care of your greenhouse. Whether you need to fix any cracks or just give it a deep clean, now’s your time.

You can also get next years crops and bedding plants off to an early start by investing in a greenhouse heater to protect them against early frosts. Although autumn and winter are definitely quieter on the gardening front, it most definitely doesn’t stop altogether! .

The first thing you’ll need to do is net your pond; this is to catch fallen autumn leaves and garden debris. Decomposing leaves will release harmful gases into your pond that can be a danger to any wildlife you have living in there.

During winter, your pond will go through some significant changes. A vast drop in temperatures means your fish’s heart rates will slow, allowing them to enter a state of hibernation. It is around this time (about 10C) that you can stop feeding your fish as their activity and metabolism will have decreased greatly.

Pond pumps are good for preventing the pond from freezing over because they recirculate warmer areas of water from the bottom to the top. However, if we are expecting extremely cold weather, we would advise removing your pump or filters, simply because it could damage or break them.

Ultimately, it is important to prevent a small area of the pond unfrozen to allow space for the exchange of gases. Do not be tempted to hack away at the ice because this can send shockwaves through your pond that could harm fish and other wildlife. Click here if you would like more information about caring for your pond during the autumn and winter seasons.

At the beginning of autumn, you’ll need to locate and clean your cold frames so they are ready for autumn planting. During autumn, cold frames will protect young plants from early and mild frosts, and during winter they can be used to shelter alpines from rain and prevent them from rotting. We offer a wide selection of cold frames suitable for all gardens here. 

If you choose the right ones, winter bedding will inject a stunning burst of colour into your garden. Our favourites are pansies, violas, winter-flowering heathers and primrose. In addition, you can exchange your summer hanging baskets for winter hanging baskets and add colour with ivy, crocus & cyclamen.

Mulch is normally applied during spring and autumn and it’s all about plant protection. During winter, mulch helps to ensure a steady temperature, keeping your plants dormant and preventing any new growth that will ultimately perish in winter temperatures.

After you’ve removed the weeds, you should add between 5cm – 7.5cm of mulch to your soil, and it mustn’t be when the soil is already frozen.

At the end of the summer season, we would advise giving all of your garden furniture a thorough clean. Start by brushing off any excess dirt, followed by a good spray of furniture cleaner. Scrub it in with a suitable cleaning brush and then leave it to work it’s magic. Finally, ensure that you wash it off carefully with water and leave to dry before storing away.

N.B. Each brand of cleaner may differ slightly so always follow the instructions given.

If you don’t have space in your garage or shed to store your furniture or tools during the winter, it’s essential to invest in durable, weather-resistant covers to prevent discolouration, rusting or rotting. Metal & steel framed rattan furniture is vulnerable to weathering so make sure that these are well covered and stored away as early as possible.

If you don’t already have a bird feeder in your garden, now is the time to invest. It’s a difficult time for our wild birds; foraging food becomes more difficult yet it is the time of year when they need to fatten up to survive colder temperatures. 

We would advice checking the bird food supplies daily to begin with. This will prevent birds wasting their vital energy by visiting an empty feeder. Adjust your feeding schedule as the seasons change but we’d advise providing food in this way until at least early spring.

Although in comparison autumn and winter are quieter months for us garden lovers, the work definitely doesn’t stop. There is a lot to be getting on with in preparation for winter and this should give you somewhere to start and remember – gardens never sleep!