Having survived Christmas the next challenge was to survive the big freeze! As always the good old UK was paralysed by at least 100mm of snow that lasted for almost a week. The Canadians were laughing all the way to their ski slopes.
What is it about us, every year we seem to have snow and every year all the schools close and the traffic slithers to a halt. Even the trains can’t run. What’s that about? The London Underground was badly affected, how does that happen? Underground snow?
You may well be asking what’s this got to do with gardening – and you’re right; nothing! Just wanted to get it off my chest, now back to the garden or not given that it’s water logged and partially frozen. So what should we be doing right now?
Well you can start by staying off your lawn if possible as it’ll be vulnerable having just come out from under all that snow and it’s probably be pretty soft too. Check the insulation on your cold frames and garden shed to ensure that all is in order.
Apart from clearing the paths of leaves and moss, if you can get to them, that’s about all at this time. Generally keeping the garden free of leaves is a good idea as it allows the soil and plants to benefit from any rise in temperature no mater how small. Until next time keep warm and happy days.
January is moving on a pace most of us are now in our second week back at work and the garden still needs attention, but only if the temperature and the daylight hours allow us to get there.
So, I thought I would give you my list of routine tasks for my garden. You may have a different order but it is still good to be out in the fresh air especially after a week in the office.
This is a great time for tidying up the long tendrils that have wrapped around the downpipes, telephone cables etc, just pay attention to not cutting the cables as this can be a costly mishap.
Only the pear and apple trees for now and if it is freezing don’t do them, remove crossing branches and any that are rubbing. Always take your time and choose the weaker of the two branches or the one growing in the wrong direction and look for buds facing the direction you want the tree to develop.
Finish off clearing the fallen leaves as they can cause rot and keep the ground colder.
Treatment of timber structures if the sun has come out and the temperature is above 5 or 6 and the timber is dry it is a great time to give them a coat of timber preservative such as creacote which is the replacement for the old creosote that now only available to professionals. If you don’t like the strong smell then try the timber treatments from the large DIY/Garden Centres, they do lots of colours so they help brighten your day too!
Ponds and Paths
Don’t forget that cleaning of ponds and paths is still important.
Top 10 other jobs for the month of January – not in any particular order:
- Recycle your Christmas tree by shredding it for mulch
- Ventilate the greenhouse on sunny (!) days
- Dig over any vacant plots that have not been dug already
- Repair and re-shape lawn edges
- Inspect stored tubers of Dahlia Begonia and Canna for rots or drying out
- Prune apple and pear trees
- Start forcing rhubarb
- Plan your vegetable crop rotations for the coming season
- Keep putting out food and water for hungry birds
- Prepare a polythene shelter for outdoor peaches and nectarines, to protect them from peach leaf curl
What a wet, dull and cold snap we are having. Absolutely no enthusiasm for pottering in the frozen wasteland that was once the garden! So instead been browsing the interweb and come across a few more tips for December. Its amazing how much good information there is available via Google and the sites it throws-up.
Anyway the tips:
- Refirm the roots of any shrubs that may have been lifted by frost.
- After all the windy weather check fence posts and panels and repair if they have become loose or damaged.
- Make sure that the shed roof is still water tight.
- Dig over beds not only prepares the soil for next year, it helps reduce pests by exposing them to hungry birds.
- Check out Garden Swap Shop, where you can swap your excess seeds and plants with other website members
- If fallen leaves are a problem in your garden try to remove them from the lawn as regularly as possible. If you wait until all the leaves have dropped, your grass will be fighting for survival under a cold damp blanket of moist, rotting vegetation.
- While its quiet in the garden take the opportunity to do any hard landscaping work.
- Clear ivy from around windows and cut back any loose stems on other clinging climbers such as Hydrangea petiolaris, Pileostegia, Schizophragma and Parthenocissus before the winds peel them back further.
Only 10 more shopping days until Christmas so got to go! Urghhh
As December is here and everyone’s thoughts are turning to Christmas – love it or not, thought we’d pen some general tips for activity in your garden. Get you away from presents and wrapping if you so desire!
Not in any particular order of importance, just a random collection.
Would welcome any additional tips/thoughts/anecdotes:
- Minimize traffic on a frozen lawn to reduce winter damage
- Drain the fuel tank of the lawn mower before putting the machine away for the winter
- Make a composting trench to enrich soil
- Dig over vacant areas
- Mow your lawn on a dry day with the blades set high
- Wrap outside taps with insulation material to prevent them freezing and turn off the water supply inside your house
- Place a floating heater or a ball in ponds to stop ice completely covering the surface
- Move tender or valuable houseplants away from cold window sills every evening
- Carry on digging over beds and borders and incorporate as much organic matter as you can
- Keep raking leaves to keep your garden clear over the winter
- Take care not to let leaves accumulate around alpines – they will die if left damp for long
That’s it for now – more thoughts as we go through the month. Stay warm and dry if you can.
Jobs to be done in the Garden
Lawns have had a hard time this year and we would recommend a little TLC for the lawns, hollow tining, weed and feed, and if moss is a problem a treatment and a light scarify, this maybe better left for the Spring, but why not book it in now?
Garden furniture needs to be moved undercover and if it is wood this needs to be a dry store if at all possible. We offer a collection, clean and return service for all types of garden furniture.
Winter Pruning, this is a great time to cut back borders that have become overgrown or just cutting back a few unruly shrubs that have taken over and are hiding other shrubs, obviously leaving things like the Buddleia until the Spring is much nearer.
Paths and Pavement
Pressure washing of paved areas and paths to remove lichens and algae’s that can make them very slippery.
Servicing of lawn mowers, strimmers, hedge cutters, secateurs, garden shears etc are all things that we have been doing for all our tools and we also offer this service to our Regular Clients. We have workshop space available in December and early 2013.