Posted by: braddenvillage | October 26, 2010

The Garden in Winter – By James

Winter gardening…

While it is often an overlooked period for our gardens, with the autumn tidy up and ongoing leaf clearance, it is very common to say ‘that’s it for another year’, and ‘I’ll do that in the spring!’ The Winter is actually the perfect time to plan any changes in the garden, from large alterations like paving and construction to re-jigging a border, getting things in action in the dormant months will pay great rewards in the spring!

Planning any size border with care and attention to selecting the right plant for the right place is the key to success, for small areas it is good to keep to a small number of plant types and group several plants of the same type together. In larger areas plants can often be allowed to grow with abandon and achieve their full potential, and by also keeping with a small pallet of plants or colours large borders can be very rewarding and dramatic.  Consider the eventual size of each plant; will they outgrow the space in a few years? If so, Can they be pruned to keep within a certain size? For maximum effect, plan to keep interest all through the year by choosing plants that flower sequentially or have interesting foliage or stems in winter.

Often a theme or style of planting is considered and this may dictate the type of plants used, for example a cottage garden will usually have loose and overflowing plants whereas a formal garden will have structure and symmetry with defined shapes and spaces.

Another attribute worth considering in any design is the vernacular, that is to say, what materials/styles and plants are in use in the surrounding environment? Native trees and shrubs that grow in our area will undoubtedly do well in gardens and will attract indigenous wildlife and using similar materials as your house in constructing any hard features will unify the house and garden.

One advantage that we have in this county is a huge amount of public and open gardens to draw inspiration from, even the largest plantings and landscapes can be scaled down and elements of them can be used in any garden! Stowe gardens are a great example of native and introduced shrub planting and is open most weekends through the winter and is a great display of winter interest.

Some jobs to do in winter!
Transplant large shrubs and small trees- minimizing root damage is the key!Plant hedges/new borders- any time as long as the ground is not frozen!Protect tender plants from frost/snow and prune or support plants that may be damaged by the weight of snow.Re-pot plant pots with fresh compost to get them going early next season.Also with a very cold winter predicted it is a good idea to clean off your shovel and get some grit, (grit salt will kill plants so use carefully along path edges and lawns!)

For any advice on planning and design please call!

James- Gardens by James  07541192818.

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