Preparing Your Garden for Winter

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

At this time of year, many people are delighting at the colourful signs of spring. The sparse garden is beginning to fill out and seedlings are beginning to sprout.  Whilst it is typical to start planning the blooms that will add beauty to their garden in summer, it can also be a good time to consider a longer term view.

If your garden looked bare and unloved through the winter months, now can be a good time of year to consider changes that could transform it next winter. With the image of this year’s borders in your mind, you will be well equipped to start planning which areas of the garden could benefit from attention.

A winter garden might not have glorious blooms, but colour can be provided by red stemmed dogwoods, golden witch hazel and winter flowering jasmine. Heathers are wonderful for providing purple tones and added interest is achieved by planting a variety of ever green shrubs.

Natural Light and Warmth

When you are about to embark on a garden design project, it is important that you get to know your garden first. You need to observe where the sun is concentrated at different times of the year, including areas of the garden that receive minimal natural light. The main planting areas need to receive a reasonable level of light throughout the year.

It is also important to assess the type of soil that you have in your garden. Whilst you can and should add organic matter to enhance the quality of the soil, you are going to have more success if you understand the type of naturally occurring soil. Soil testing kits can help determine whether you have an acidic or alkaline soil, so you can select plants which will thrive in those conditions.

You can also determine whether you have a sandy, loamy or clay soil, again to influence your plant choice and add appropriate plant care for the conditions. As an example, a clay soil takes longer to warm up, so planting might be delayed longer than in a garden with loam or sandy soil.

Garden Structure

An interesting garden includes a variety of plants and other features, which add structure as well as colour. In a winter garden structure is especially important. There are a number of trees, particularly in the Betula and Acer families, which have beautifully coloured bark that can become a focal point of a winter garden. For example, Betula serula is a rich, deep red and Betula utilis offers a bright, white trunk.

It can be valuable to plan where larger plants including trees and significant shrubs will be located for maximum impact and contrast. Other shrubs and low lying plants can then be arranged around them to create a garden with dimension. Pathways, sculptures, benches, arches and planting in large pots are other ways in which you can add height and variety to the garden.

Winter Scents

What many winter plants lack in bright colourful petals, they make up for in glorious scents. By considering the fragrance of plants, you can add to the sensory experience of exploring your garden in winter. There are also many benefits to wildlife, particularly insects, in scented plants, which can aid the pollination of all the plants in your garden. Mahonia Japonica, Wintersweet and Honeysuckle are a few of the fragrant plants which can be included in the borders for their appearance and scent.

Planting Bulbs

One of the many delights of late winter is watching the snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils starting to peak through the soil. By including bulbs in your planting, you can enjoy this grand finale to the winter garden experience year on year.

Garden Design Team in Berkshire

If you love the idea of planting a winter garden, but haven’t the time to spend on recreating your garden design, Maidenhead based Gardeneer can assist. Our experienced team can undertake the project along with on-going maintenance if required. Visit our website to find out more.

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