The Winter Garden
David weeds the veg garden or covers any bare soil with a green manure crop for the winter. Bare soil is just inviting weeds to germinate, and it makes sense to start next year with clean ground. Green manure crops are turned into the soil in spring to feed it.
We will go through all those tempting seed catalogues and choose what varieties to grow next year, some old favourites that we know suit our soil and new ones to try as it is fun to experiment.
There are flowers to enjoy even in the middle of winter: winter aconites and snowdrops, Algerian irises, skimmia which is good in containers, the hellebore known as Christmas rose, bedding pansies and winter jasmine.
A number of shrubs flower at this time of year, often with scent, such as witch hazel, sweet box or Sarcococca, and the intensely fragrant Daphne odora. Once the flowers have faded on winter flowering shrubs they should be pruned, probably in February, so that they bloom again in a year’s time. These shrubs are important not just for us; winter heathers and flowering redcurrant are important early sources of nectar for bees.