Cold weather and short dark days are no excuse for neglecting your garden
PUBLISHED: 21:41 25 October 2012 | UPDATED: 22:13 20 February 2013
Cold weather and short dark days are no excuse for neglecting your garden. Jacqui Brocklehurst reminds us of a few timely tasks that will bear fruit in the spring. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Emma Louise Jones
Its very tempting at this time of year to batten down the hatches and forget all about the garden. But to do so would be to turn your back on a welcome collection of plants.
Chrysanthemums and heathers add late season colour to borders while winter pansies, violas and cyclamen will keep flowering throughout the winter.
While the rest of the garden slips into hibernation its worth planting these hardy stalwarts in pots clustered around then ukfront door. The perky faces of violas are enough to invoke a smile even on the coldest of days.
To create a winter display, fill a pot with multi-purpose compost making sure there is adequate room for drainage underneath. Choose a collection of flowering plants and arrange with winter foliage; small conifers, ivy and evergreen herbs are perfect. Winter pots will need watering if they are in a sheltered place and dead heading will encourage more flowers.
You can be as creative as you want with these arrangements filling pots, baskets, shoes, old sinks, whatever takes your fancy.
As for the rest of the garden there are just a few jobs to do before putting it to bed. Continue to clear away any leaves from lawns and around any plants that may be susceptible to rotting. Where possible leave a few drifts for any hibernating hedgehogs that are passing your way and consider putting a couple of bug boxes around for any other creatures looking for a place to rest.
Apple and pear trees should be pruned each winter to encourage a good crop of fruit next season. When the tree is dormant remove any crossed, congested and damaged branches with sharp secateurs. For espalier, fan trained and cordon trees shorten this seasons growth bringing the tree back into the desired shape.
Hopefully you will have all your daffodil bulbs planted by now ready to surprise and delight you in spring. If not dont worry, theres still time and while youre out there digging, chuck in few tulip bulbs in too.
Follow Jacquis edible gardening blog jacquibrocklehurst.wordpress.com or visit her website www.colourmygarden.co.uk