Top tips to help your garden plants survive the winter chill

Winter is on its way, which means your garden will get less sunlight and be exposed to more extreme weather conditions. Make sure your garden is ready with our helpful tips.

As the leaves start to fall and the dark nights draw in, the tender plants in your garden need a bit of love and attention to make sure they get through the winter. With freezing temperatures, heavy rain and strong winds on the way, you need to be proactive to prevent long term damage occurring.


Protect your flowers

When protecting your flowers in autumn, an important step is ‘mulching’. This is where you place loose coverings (such as decaying leaves, bark chippings or crushed shells) or special sheets of material over soil to enhance its quality. Mulching will improve the soil’s texture, prevent weeds from growing and, crucially, protect the plant roots from cold temperatures.

You should always lay mulches over moist soil and remove any weeds first. You can also use the plants’ own leaves as protection by tying them up to protect the crowns underneath.

Top tip: place your most tender plants and bulbs inside or in a heated greenhouse.


Avoid frost damage

Frost can be the bane of many gardeners through the winter, striking when you least expect it and causing irreparable damage. To avoid frost damage you can cover large tubs and pots with bubble wrap, hessian or fleece, keeping them insulated through the winter.

Top tip: raise patio containers on pot feet or bricks, so that they don’t sit in water that could freeze plant roots.


Look after your lawn

The first step towards keeping a healthy lawn through the winter is to rake the leaves off whenever you get the chance. If leaves are left on the lawn they can block out light and prevent moisture from getting to the grass. Grass still grows at temperatures above 5oC so during autumn you’ll still need to mow the lawn but you should keep the cut higher than in the summer, to lower the stress on the turf.

Top tip: don’t walk on your lawn when it is frosty, this can damage the grass and leave brown footprint-shaped marks.


Plan ahead

Successful gardening is all about preparation and by having a clear plan in mind you can get ahead of the game. Order some seed catalogues with next year’s bedding and perennials and do some research about which bulbs you should be planting for next spring and summer.

Top tip: planting tulip bulbs in October will provide your garden with a colourful spring display next year.

Protecting your garden in the winter will ensure that it’s ready to blossom come the spring and summer. You should also try to put out bird food to encourage winter birds into your garden and seasonal bonfires are a great way of disposing of unwanted debris that can’t be composted.