The uncommonly mild winter that we have been experiencing is producing some very unusual events in our winter garden. Spring bulbs are already sprouting green shoots, buds are appearing on fruit bearing trees that we harvested a couple of months ago. We have also been suffering a daily deluge, with record-breaking rainfall, making our gardens waterlogged. We should continue take care of our bulbs and flowerbeds nonetheless, as we might yet get harsh weather.
Winter - the best time to plan your garden!
Yes, you can garden in the winter. Actually it is the best time for making plans as well as viewing your landscape and making decisions about what wonderful effects you want to create in your garden next year. When the leaves fall and the flowers are gone, you can see the "bare bones" of your garden and imagine just where a nice arbour, or a water feature might go.
Now, right after you have hopefully made and not yet broken your New Year's resolutions, is the time for you to plan and prepare for a vegetable garden. Last autumn was actually the optimal time to set aside a plot, turn it over, add compost, and wait for winter freezing and thawing and a snow cover to help ready the soil for spring planting. But it's not too late and given the fact that we have had an unusually mild winter so far and fairly frost-free.
We are always urged to do more recycling and there’s plenty we can do in our gardens to make effective use of waste materials
If you recycle more in your garden, you’ll not only be helping the environment but you could save yourself some money as well.
From making your own compost to using yoghurt pots for growing plants in, from collecting rain water in water butts to recycling ‘grey’ water from the washing up bowl, there are loads of ways to help the environment and to save some money.
Country Gardener magazine is delighted to be sponsoring the wonderful series of potato days throughout the West Country which start early in the New Year and run for almost three months.
Specialist Potato Days are held in conjunction with gardening clubs and societies in January, February and March and have become hugely popular events.
Pennard Plants from East Pennard in Somerset are hosting a series of Potato Days in the New Year with a tried and tested formula.
Gardenias are perhaps the most powerfully scented of all indoor plants perfect for conservatories ,grown for their foliage and highly scented showy flowers but they do have a reputation for being difficult.
Gardenias have won the hearts of gardeners for ages. Their beautiful petals and divine fragrance make them a much-loved flower and while hardy varieties increasingly appear outdoors it is their popularity as houseplants which makes them memorable.
It may be the last month of the year but there are still some stunning plants and shrubs that thrive against all the elements and succeed in bringing beauty, style and unexpectedly dramatic colour to the winter garden.
It’s time to search for Christmas present ideas. Vivienne Lewis makes a selection of just some of our favourite gardening and natural history books.
Once the dormant season is upon us, this is the time to take stock of the year’s successes and failures, and to get on with planning for next year.
It is also a great time to start construction jobs so that the new features will be ready for the start of next year’s season.
This is also the time when everything is returned to the soil: leaves are falling, stems collapsing, insects dying. The earth is receptive now; drawing in energy while all above is going dormant.
PREPARE YOUR SOIL
If you have compost ready then apply it to the soil now .
Many gardeners worry that the long winter rains will affect the quality of their hard-earned recycled matter by leaching out nutrients.
However the rain washes nutrients into a fertile organic soil rather than washing them out.
The past three years have seen very little rainfall in February, March and April in many parts of the country, often accompanied by dry winds from the north and east.