Gardening Magazine

Thinking About Winter

By Notcuttsuk @notcuttsuk

Heavy dew lies on the lawn and car windscreen most mornings now and reminds me that autumn is on its way. Gardening starts a new phase once again with the purchase of spring bulbs, planting of containers with autumn and winter bedding plants and the planning of borders for next spring’s show of Wallflowers, Forget Me Nots and Tulips.

I am also starting to think about what the winter may bring this year. Will it be another relatively mild one or are we due heavy frosts and snow for weeks on end? I have a few tender plants in the garden, so need to find the frost fleece that was purchased last year in case it is needed! I have recently purchased a small Banana plant Musa Basjoo, which is supposedly one of the hardiest. It is growing at a rate of knots and I have planted it in a big pot to go near the new arbour where the large leaves add a tropical air. Although the rootstock can withstand several degrees of frost if planted in the ground and protected by a thick layer of mulch in autumn, the permanent spot I have in mind for this beauty will not be ready for several weeks yet, so I will overwinter it, when the time comes, in my greenhouse until next spring. Canna Lilies and Ginger Lilies (Hedychium) are the same – hardier in the ground and protected by mulch but tender in pots which can freeze up completely. My greenhouse will be full up again through any cold weather!

The lawns have stood up to the dry weather well through the summer months but I like to do some work on the grass before the winter so that it is ready for any hard weather. Now is the time to think about this and I have purchased an autumn lawn feed from Notcutts. As well as being high in Phosphorous and Potassium, to strengthen the roots and harden up the grass blades, the preparation contains a moss killer. Moss is a ‘short day plant’ which means that it will continue to grow through the winter if not kept in check, leaving me with a big scarifying job next spring!

I will not apply the lawn food until it has rained; there is no immediate hurry as it can go on anytime from now until mid November, but I have cut the lawn and raked out plenty of moss and dead grass to clear around the grass blades and make it easier for the fertilizer to wash into the ground. I have also repaired some high patches by peeling back the turf and removing some of the soil. The grass seed which was sprinkled down on top has already begun to germinate and should be long enough to cut in a couple of weeks.

We are very pleased with the new arbour in the corner of the garden. It replaces one that was badly damaged by winter storms and is the ideal place for a cup of coffee or glass of wine, to sit and admire the garden which is of course, never finished as new projects and ideas come along! 

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