Make your gar­den win­ter­proof

IF YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR GAR­DEN PLANTS GROW EVEN BIG­GER AND BET­TER THIS YEAR, NOW’S THE TIME TO THINK ABOUT PRO­TECT­ING THEM…

Manchester Evening News - - YOUR GARDEN -

AS THE weather be­gins to sig­nif­i­cantly colder, now is the time to start think­ing about pro­tect­ing your plants.

The time you take to keep them warm and cosy now will go a long way to mak­ing sure your gar­den re­cov­ers quickly for next spring.

TEN­DER LOV­ING CARE

THERE are a few plants which might need shield­ing from plum­met­ing tem­per­a­tures – sum­mer bed­ding plants, like gera­ni­ums and fuch­sias, as well as any re­cently planted trees and shrubs which are yet to be es­tab­lished.

All these are cold-sen­si­tive plants that need a lit­tle bit of ex­tra pro­tec­tion when Jack Frost is around.

Move them into more shel­tered spots so they can be­come big­ger and bet­ter next year.

REFUGE AND RESPITE

IF you have a green­house, move the plants in – prefer­ably on a raised plat­form or bench so they’re above the ground frost.

In many cases, if it gets ex­ces­sively cold, you may want to have some heat in the green­house – ei­ther paraf­fin or a small elec­tric heater.

It’s not too late to take steps to in­su­late your green­house as well, with bub­ble plas­tic or sheet plas­tic to cre­ate a dou­ble-glazed ef­fect on the win­dows.

Tak­ing sen­si­tive plants and mov­ing them into those po­si­tions plays a big part in keep­ing them worry-free for win­ter.

If you haven’t got a green­house, use an un­heated part of your home. This may be a garage with a win­dow, so there is still some light, or a low-heated porch or con­ser­va­tory.

IT’S A WRAP

THE other op­tion is that you can fleece the plants to sup­ply them with an ex­tra layer of pro­tec­tive cloth­ing.

Buy hor­ti­cul­tural win­ter fleece off the roll – it al­most looks like white spi­der’s web­bing – and works the same way as lay­ers of cloth­ing work for us, trap­ping the air in to keep us cosy.

You can buy fleece from most gar­den cen­tres and DIY stores. Wrap it gen­er­ously around your sen­si­tive plants. It’s par­tic­u­larly good if you have things like stan­dard fuch­sias, palms or Canna lilies – just cover the veg­e­ta­tion and fix in place.

With sen­si­tive or herba­ceous plants, like tree ferns, you can ac­tu­ally stuff a lit­tle bit of straw to the heart of the tree fern at the top as in­su­la­tion. Or mulch around your herba­ceous peren­nial plants – your del­phini­ums, lupins and the like – with bark chip or leaf mould as a de­fen­sive blan­ket.

PAD­DING FOR POTS

YOU can also use bub­ble wrap around pots or use up any pack­ing filler prod­ucts from your home de­liv­er­ies.

An­other big win­ner, if you’ve got lots of pots on your pa­tio, is to move them all to­gether and put fleece over the whole lot so you’re not wrap­ping them sep­a­rately. My top tip is to make sure the pots aren’t solid with wa­ter by giv­ing them ef­fec­tive drainage. Oth­er­wise, if the con­tainer has made a seal where the pot meets the pa­tio, the wa­ter can’t drain out and be­comes sod­den.

Frost will then ex­pand this wa­ter by freez­ing it and it can crack your pots.

The best thing to do is use pot feet. These are lit­tle stand­ings that you put your pots on top of, so there’s a clear gap be­tween the bot­tom of the pot and the pa­tio, to keep the wa­ter drain­ing freely. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on them, you can use wine corks for this – so start sav­ing them up!

SNOW WOES

SNOW mainly af­fects ev­er­greens – plants that hold their leaves through­out the win­ter months, with a broad canopy.

The weight of the snow can bear down on the branches and break them.

The best thing to do is to give ev­er­greens a lit­tle bit of a trim so that they’re not car­ry­ing too much weight

Even if your gar­den is un­der a blan­ket of snow, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to think about spring plants

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