If you are a keen gardener, then you will no doubt be aware of the many difficulties which often face gardens around this time of year. During the dead of winter, it can be particularly challenging keeping a garden healthy and fruitful. If you are a hardcore gardener, then you will no doubt find that the winter poses a challenge which you enjoy taking on. But when it gets towards the end of winter, we need to start thinking about how to best prepare it for spring. What can you do to give your garden life at the start of the year? And are there any other ways of breathing fresh life into your garden, besides traditional gardening methods? Let’s take a look and see what we can discover in answer to these questions.
Clear Up Flower Beds
A lot of the end-of-winter work is actually just tidying up in readiness for the new season. A good example of the kind of simple, yet effective and essential, work that you need to think about at this time is to clear up your flower beds and borders. Mostly, this is quite simple, and just involves generally tidying up whatever might need tidying. You might find that the autumn has left a lot of leaves on your beds, in which case you will probably want to get rid of them. Best is to simply add them to your compost pile – their sogginess is great for improving the quality of the mulch. If you have any old deciduous grasses or herbaceous perennials, then now is a good time to cut them back, too. Also, now is the ideal time to start digging some compost or manure into the top layer of soil in your beds – so long as the soil itself is workable enough to do that.
De-Clutter The Greenhouse
We all know what it’s like. The greenhouse all too often becomes a general dumping ground for anything you can’t find a decent home for. And when that doesn’t happen, you end up with several unused or forgotten plants which have seen better days. Fortunately, this is the ideal time of year to start clearing out your greenhouse again – and doing so will make a huge difference to how the overall garden feels. It is wise to sweep out any plant debris that might be on the floor, in readiness for spring’s new arrivals. It is also wise to disinfect the floor and the inside of the glass, as pests and diseases can survive in even the smallest areas on the glass, and this can cause serious ongoing problems for your new plants. Once you have properly and thoroughly cleaned your greenhouse through, it is well worth keeping it open to ventilate it as it dries. This helps to avoid damp or mould settling, the last thing any gardener wants in their greenhouse at any time of year, let alone the onset of spring.
Add A Funky Feature
If it has been a long time since you did anything different with your garden, then why not make 2017 the year that you make a big change? You might decide that you want to add some kind of funky feature to your garden, if you like. Doing so can really make a dramatic difference in terms of adding a little extra something to your garden. There are all manner of features that you can choose from, and if you are having a hard time deciding, it might be a good idea to shop around on the Internet for ideas. For example, take a look at this negative edge pool design for a backyard; this kind of installation can really make a vivid difference to the overall effect your garden gives. If you want something a little simpler, then there are plenty of options there too. Why not think about installing a modern pond, or a small fountain? With some kind of central feature, any garden can really come alive – and what better time to do it than now, just before spring starts up again proper?
Hunt For Pests
There are all manner of pests which can infest your garden throughout the year, and the end of winter is a particularly bad time for them. To help give your plants, especially your new ones, the best chance of survival and to allow them to thrive, you might want to consider hunting for pests now, before spring starts for good. Looking for hibernating pests can be a real challenge, but it is almost certainly worth it, particularly as it will help your garden along so much. Look down the crowns of your perennial plants and you will no doubt find a huge number of pests, ranging from slugs and snails to entire colonies of aphids. You definitely want to remove these as best as you can from your garden before getting into the flow of things in spring.
Install Some Water Butts
If you are green-hearted as well as green-thumbed, then you will probably appreciate the ecological benefit of installing water butts in your garden. Water butts can save your use of water dramatically, and this has many benefits for both the environment and for yourself. After all, water costs you money, and the more you can save this way, the better off you will be. Your water butts do not have to be particularly fancy – they just need to be able to hold a decent amount of water, and be placed at regular intervals around the garden. With any luck, this will make a huge difference to how much water you use overall. It is also the case that rainwater is quite different from tap water, and for many plants it is considerably more beneficial. For plants such as Camellias, Rhododendrons and Blueberries, tap water is often too alkaline, but rainwater is ideal. Install some butts in your garden today, and come spring you should find that you have plenty of rainwater to be getting on with.