Winter

December – January – February

A well-established garden will not be shy of colour and interest over the Winter months, and working outdoors during the Winter can be a pleasant change to being indoors.

As with all of the four seasons, there is always work to be done in the garden, and Winter is no exception! The more preparation that you do now means less pressure to get them done in the Spring.

However, if the weather is severe, there is always time to be an armchair gardener by sitting back and getting ideas for what you want to grow or design in your garden the coming year.

Quick View by Category

General Tasks and Maintenance

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December – Early Winter

January – Mid Winter

February – Late Winter

Gardens and in the Garden

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December – Early Winter

January – Mid Winter

February – Late Winter

Trees, Shrubs and Hedges

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December – Early Winter

January – Mid Winter

February – Late Winter

Greenhouse and Cloches

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December – Early Winter

January – Mid Winter

February – Late Winter

Lawn

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December – Early Winter

January – Mid Winter

February – Late Winter

House Plants

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December – Early Winter

January – Mid Winter

February – Late Winter

Kitchen Garden

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December – Early Winter

January – Mid Winter

February – Late Winter

Flowers and Plants

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December – Early Winter

January – Mid Winter

February – Late Winter

Pond, Water plants and Rock plants

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December – Early Winter

January – Mid Winter

February – Late Winter

Wildlife

Click on the links below to be directed to the individual month’s tasks.

 

December – Early Winter

January – Mid Winter

February – Late Winter

December - Early Winter

The month of Winter festivities is one of the quietest gardening months of the year. With minimal sunshine and wet weather, this does limit the work you can do in the garden.

Cold spells typically begin in December which can often bring sharp frosts and flutters of snow. During mild days, priority should be taken on ensuring that plots and beds are cleared and prepared ready for the Spring.

  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Camellia
  • Capsicum annum
  • Carnations
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Cineraria
  • Freesia
  • Hippeastrum
  • Hyacinth
  • Impatiens
  • Narcissus
  • Pelargonium
  • Primula
  • Saintpaulia
  • Solanum capsicastrum
  • Zygocactus

Early Winter

General Tasks and Maintenance

    • To keep control of Mice and rats as they seek warm and dry shelter, put out traps and or bait.
    • Protect evergreen shrubs planted in the Autumn against bitter easterly winds.
    • After a heavy snowfall, shake off the snow from shrubs and trees to prevent branches snapping and breaking from the weight of the snow.

Early Winter

Houseplants

    • Give houseplants plenty of light and leave them on the dry side and prevent overwatering.
    • Pots with bulbs, keep moist but not too hot. Once they have flowered, plant outside.

Early Winter

Gardens and in the Garden

Patio areas

    • Protect expensive and sensitive trees and shrubs from the Winter weather. 
    • Plant trees and shrubs into containers during mild days.

Early Winter

Kitchen Garden

Fruit 

  • Continue to plant when the weather is mild.
  • Continue to prune mature trees.
  • Cut back newly planted apples, blackberries, cherries, currants, gooseberries, loganberries, pears and raspberries. 

Vegetables

  • Pull up turnips and swedes and store if not using straight away.
  • Prepare the bed for next years runner beans.
  • In the greenhouse – Lift rhubarb and chicory for forcing.

Herbs

  • Protect herbs such as bay, marjoram and rosemary from the Winter weather.

Early Winter

Trees, Shrubs and Hedges

  • Plant deciduous trees and shrubs when the weather is mild.
  • Re-firms soil around all new shrubs that may have loosened by the frost.
  • Tie up the branches of new conifers; this will prevent the branches from breaking if there are large amounts of snow that fall.
  • Collect up fallen leaves and then compost them. Any signs of disease, burn or put into the refuse bin.
  • Fushia and hydrangeas that have been grown in a pot can now be brought into a cool greenhouse.
  • Complete any planting of deciduous hedges if the ground is suitable, otherwise, keep in a frost-free shed or greenhouse.

Early Winter

Flowers / Plants

Hardy Herbaceous Plants

  • Continue with tidying up the flower beds and borders as well as weeding around the plants.
  • Prune any overgrown trees, plants and shrubs.

Perennials

Carnations and Pinks

  • Add lime if the soil is below 6.5.
  • Keep an eye out for rust and carnation flies.
  • Order plants and prepare the bed, so it’s ready for March.
  • In the Greenhouse – Ensure the temperature is maintained around 7 – 8 degrees centigrade as well as plenty of ventilation. 
  • Remove buds after flowering. 
  • Water and feed irregularly.

Chrysanthemums

  • Firm the soil around the plants that are over-wintering as the frost may lift the plants.
  • In the greenhouse – Ensure it is well ventilated, and the temperature is consistent at around 10 degrees centigrade. 
  • Take cuttings of any large varieties.

Dahlias

  • Take a look at the tubers that you currently have stored.
  • If you find any of them have shrunk and shrivelled in size, put them into a bucket of lukewarm water overnight. 
  • Cut off any dead parts of the tuber.

Gladioli

  • Discard any diseased corms that have been stored.

Irises

  • Continue to pick flowers regularly.
  • In the greenhouse – When you see growth in the bulbous irises, water and move to a cold greenhouse to help their growth.

Lilies

  • If the soil isn’t too hard, plant bulbs.

Roses

  • Complete planting of roses providing the soil isn’t wet, and the surface doesn’t have frost or snow. If the conditions are not suitable for planting, store in a frost-free place until the weather improves.
  • Destroy any leaves that show signs of black spot.
  • In the greenhouse – bring potted roses into the Greenhouse and prune.

Annuals

Alpines

  • Remove any dead leaves.
  • Sow slow germinating seeds as well as any seeds that require exposure to frosts to help with germination. 

Bulbs

  • Lightly weed the beds of late-planted tulips.
  • In the greenhouse – take a look at the bulbs in bowls and pots and move into the greenhouse. As well as protecting the bulbs this will also hasten the growth.
  • Plant Lilies and support the stems of Lachenalia and Freesias.

Flowers from Seed

  • Start to plan and purchase seeds for sowing in the Spring.
  • Continue to dig over the beds for the Spring.

Heathers

  • If the weather is mild, continue with planting.
  • Remove any weeds of new plants.
  • Once flowering has finished, lightly trim established heathers.

Rhododendrons and Azaleas

  • If the weather is mild, continue with planting.

Sweet peas

  • Once the third pair of leaves have formed of the seedlings, pinch out the tips.
  • After a harsh frost, cover the sweet pea frames to prevent quick thawing.

Early Winter

Greenhouse and Cloches

  • Give attention to plants that flower over the festive season.
  • On sunny days, allow for ventilation.
  • Remove any dead leaves/flowers and have a general tidy up of the greenhouse.
  • Wash any pots and seed trays ready for the Spring.
  • Use slug pellets to keep the slugs down over this period.
  • Begin to insulate your greenhouse using polythene sheeting or bubble wrap to keep in the heat and prevent draughts.

Early Winter

Pond, water plants and Rock Plants

  • Keep an area of the pond free of any ice to allow any toxic gases to enter into the atmosphere.

Early Winter

Lawn

  • Dig over areas that you wish to seed during the Spring months.

Early Winter

Wildlife

  • INFORMATION COMING SOON!

January - Mid Winter

Typically the coldest month of the year, but it is a great time to plan for buying seeds, plants and maintain your gardening equipment. There’s a high chance of snowfall during the month as well as low evening temperatures.

With this in mind, a gardener’s focus is to ensure plants are protected and that heavy snow doesn’t break down branches of trees and shrubs.

  • Arum Lily
  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Calceolaria
  • Camellia
  • Carnation
  • Cineraria
  • Cyclamen
  • Freesia
  • Hyacinth
  • Impatiens
  • Jasmine
  • Narcissus
  • Pelargonium
  • Poinsettia
  • Primula
  • Saintpaulia
  • Solanum capsicastrum

Mid Winter

General Tasks and Maintenance

  • Send gardening tools and lawnmowers to be maintained/serviced/sharpened ready for the new season.
  • Insulate cold frames to allow for extra protection against cold weather.
  • Draw up a gardening plan ready for the new year and make preparations for purchasing plants and seeds.
  • Order compost, stakes, obelisks and canes.

Mid Winter

Houseplants

  • Keep plants warm with plenty of sunlight.
  • Water irregularly
  • Only feed houseplants if they are flowering or growing strong.

Mid Winter

Gardens and in the Garden

Patio areas

  • Move containers to a sheltered area to give protection.
  • Plant trees and shrubs in containers when the weather permits.

Mid Winter

Kitchen Garden

Fruit
  • Inspect any fruit that has been stored and discard any that has rotted.
  • Continue with the planting of fruit trees during suitable weather.
  • Continue with any pruning and ensuring plants are securely staked and tied up.
  • Take cuttings for blackcurrants.
  • Plant rhubarb and spread with manure covering the crowns. Force the rhubarb by placing boxes on top to encourage growth.
  • Bring Strawberry pots into the greenhouse.
  • In the greenhouse – plant peaches, apricots, nectarines and grapevines. Be aware that fruit trees prefer unheated greenhouse conditions which may conflict with other plants in the greenhouse which will require heat during the Winter months.
Vegetables
  • In the South, sow broad beans for an early crop or under cloches / in the greenhouse in other areas.
  • In the South, an early crop of shallots can be planted.
  • Order onion sets and shallots.
  • Test soil and add lime if your soil requires it.
  • Sow varieties of carrot, lettuce and french beans that are best suited to be sown under glass.
  • Sow Cauliflower and Cabbage in a heated propagator.
  • Lettuce that has been sown in October, plant out in borders or grow bags.
  • Pot up and force Chicory.
  • Harvest Carrot, Chicory, Lettuce, Radish, Potatoes and Mushrooms.
  • Tomatoes can be sown in the latter days of the month in a propagator within a warm greenhouse. These can then be planted out in early March to allow for a June crop.
Herbs
  • Plan your herb garden for the new year. Choose a sunny site that is south facing.
  • Order seeds ready for Spring.

Mid Winter

Trees, Shrubs and Hedges

  • If you have received shrubs from nurseries during the bad weather, store in a frost-free shed. Plant when the weather improves.
  • Shake off heavy snowfall off trees and shrubs to prevent them from being damaged by the weight of the snow.
  • Sow camellia, ginkgo and Liriodendron in the greenhouse at 16 degrees centigrade.
  • Prune any diseased or dead parts of shrubs and trees.
Hedges
  • Plant deciduous hedging during the mild weather.
  • If you have purchased plants during a cold period, store in a frost-free shed until the weather improves.
  • Protect roots with straw.

Mid Winter

Flowers / Plants

Hardy Herbaceous plants

  • Clear the dead tops and fork over the soil between each plant.
  • Dig over any heavy soil during this month.
  • Plan and prepare to purchase new plants for the Spring.

Perennials

Carnations and Pinks

  • Test soil for lime, add lime if pH levels are below 6.5.
  • During mild weather, firm the soil around the plants.
  • Ensure plants are supported and clean up any dead leaves.
  • Plan and prepare to purchase new plants and seeds for the Spring.
  • In the greenhouse – maintain a temperature of 7 degrees centigrade for continuous flowering carnations.
  • Allow ventilation and irregularly water and feed. Cut blooms and flowers once flowered. 
  • Sow carnation seeds into a propagation frame and keeping a temperature of 16 – 18 degrees centigrade. Once germinated, harden off into 2-inch pots.

Chrysanthemums 

  • If any stools are waterlogged, pierce the soil with a garden fork to all the water to drain away.
  • In the greenhouse – Take cuttings of any larger varieties.
  • Control any attacks from aphids or leaf miners.

Dahlias

  • Take a look at stored tubers. If any are shrivelled, plunge them into a bucket or container of lukewarm water overnight.
  • Cutaway rotted parts of the tubers.

Gladioli 

  • Order new corms ready for the Spring season.

Irises

  • In the greenhouse – Once growth has started in bulbous irises begin watering.

Lilies

  • Continue to plant bulbs during the mild weather.

Roses

  • If the soil isn’t sticky, wet, frosty or layered with Snow, continue to plant. If the conditions are not suitable, heel the roses in.
  • Support rose bushes from strong gale winds using stakes, bamboo sticks or obelisks.
  • Prepare soil for early Spring.
  • In the greenhouse – maintain a temperature of 5 degrees centigrade watering once a week.

Annuals

Alpines

  • Remove any leaves that have fallen.
  • Plan to order new plants for the Spring.

Bulbs

  • Bring in bulbs for them to flower indoors.
  • Feed flowering bulbs with fertiliser feed and prevent overwatering.
  • Check bulbs, corms and tubers that you currently have stored. Destroy any that are diseased. 
  • Plant Achimenes, Gloxinia and Hippeastrum. 
  • Once they have finished flowering, plant outdoors.

Flowers from seed

  • Dig over beds and plant borders.
  • Plan for planting in the Spring.
  • Sow Begonia, Pelargonium and Streptocarpus in a propagator. 

Heather

  • Any heathers that have lifted from the frost firm them in.
  • Continue to plant heathers when the weather is suitable.

Rhododendrons and Azaleas

  • Cover to protect from the frost. Remove protection during mild weather.

Sweet peas

  • Add hydrated lime to prepared beds.
  • In the greenhouse – sow seeds.

Mid Winter

Greenhouse and Cloches

  • Remove blooms from flowers once they have finished flowering.
  • Avoid overwatering
  • Plan what plants you would like to purchase over the upcoming year.
  • Remove diseased leaves from plants and destroy leaves rather than composting.
  • Block up any draughts, fix any broken window panes and insulate the greenhouse ready for the cold weather.
  • Inspect paraffin heaters, fill and clean as and when required.

Mid Winter

Pond, water plants and Rock Plants

  • Continue to protect small ponds from the ice. 
  • Check water levels, if levels drop this may be due to cracking of the lining.
  • Feed fish during the mild weather.

Mid Winter

Lawn

  • Check drainage and prepare top dressings for the Spring.

Mid Winter

Wildlife

  • INFORMATION COMING SOON!

February - Late Winter

As we start to see the flowering of snowdrops and other bulbs in the garden, it is a sign that the Winter is almost over and we begin to see signs of warmer weather allowing you to get out in the garden and make all the necessary preparations for Spring.

During a hard Winter, you may find that February is one of the coldest months bringing heavy falls of snow. Cold nights continue, which leads to a ground frost in most areas.

During days of improving weather, it’s a great time to make preparations of the ground so that it is ready for the Spring.

  • Begonia
  • Calceolaria
  • Camellia
  • Carnation
  • Cineraria
  • Clivia
  • Cyclamen
  • Freesia
  • Hyacinth
  • Impatiens
  • Iris reticulata
  • Jasmine
  • Mimosa
  • Narcissus
  • Pelargonium
  • Primula
  • Saintpaulia
  • Tulip

Late Winter

General Tasks and Maintenance

  • Service your mower or have it serviced professionally.
  • Clear out gutters of your home and external building which may become clogged with leaves and dirt.

Late Winter

Houseplants

  • Prune and repot your house plants and water irregularly.

Late Winter

Gardens and in the Garden

Patio areas

  • Plant trees and shrubs in containers during mild weather.

Late Winter

Kitchen Garden

Fruit
  • Continue to plant fruit trees when the weather permits. If not, store in a frost-free place until the weather improves.
  • Prune newly planted fan trained fruit trees such as peaches, cherries, plums and nectarines. 
  • Cover strawberries with cloches for early fruiting.
  • Prune blackcurrants, gooseberries and raspberries.
  • Finish picking late apples.
  • Begin with forcing rhubarb.
  • Mulch established fruit bushes and trees using manure and garden compost.
  • Harvest Rhubarb
  • Sow Melon in a heated propagator. 
  • Spray peaches and nectarines with a fungicide if you have had previous issues with peach leaf curl.
Vegetables
  • Sow early peas and beans. 
  • Buy potato tubers and sprout in a frost-free shed.
  • In the greenhouse – sow carrots in light, fertile soil in a cold frame. 
  • Sow Broad bean, Carrot, Cabbage, Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts, Onion, Parsnip and early varieties of Turnips and lettuce.
  • Plant shallots. 
  • Order asparagus plants.
  • Lift leeks and parsnips as required. If the weather deteriorates, lift leeks in mild weather and heal in so they can be easily lifted.
  • Harvest lettuce, radish, mushroom and chicory 
  • Continue with sowing tomatoes in a cool greenhouse.
  • Sow broad beans under cloches.
  • Prepare trenches for celery and runner beans.
  • Chit ‘seed’ potatoes.
Herbs
  • Prepare the herb bed for the Spring. Add compost and peat into the soil if the soil is heavy. 
  • Sow parsley if the weather is dry and not too cold.

Late Winter

Trees, Shrubs and Hedges

  • When the weather is mild, continue to plant deciduous trees and shrubs—firm soil of any trees/shrubs that have been loosened by the frost.
  • Cut back summer flowering varieties of clematis. 
Hedges
  • Plant deciduous hedges during the mild weather. 
  • If the ground isn’t suitable for planting, keep in a frost-free shed until the weather improves. 
  • Protect roots with straw.
  • Cut overgrown hedges at the end of the month.

Late Winter

Flowers / Plants

Hardy Herbaceous plants

  • Clear any dead tops
  • Spread garden fertiliser on the beds, working in with the soil as you go.
  • A wide range of half-hardy annuals can be sown this time of the year rather than waiting until March. Examples include Antirrhinum, Celosia, Lobelia, Nicotiana and sweet peas.

Pot plants

  • Use a propagator to sow Abutilon, Begonia, Schizanthus and Solanum capsicastrum.
  • Take cuttings of Carnations, Begonias, Lorraine and Pelargonium.
  • Prune Fuschias, Pelargonium and Bougainvillea.

Perennials

Carnations and Pinks

  • Test the soil to check the pH levels. If below 6.5, add lime.
  • Clear dead leaves and weeds around stems and ensure plants are secured with stakes and ties.
  • Order new plants ready for the Spring.
  • Prepare beds for the Spring. 
  • In the greenhouse – for continuously flowering varieties maintain a temperature of around 6 – 9 degrees centigrade. Water irregularly and allow ventilation.

Chrysanthemums

  • Drain any stools that are waterlogged.
  • Keep beds clear of weeds and put slug pellets around the stools.
  • Take cuttings.
  • In the greenhouse – propagate decorative greenhouse varieties. Finish potting up varieties for an exhibition—scattering areas with slug bait. Take cuttings.

Dahlias

  • Take a look at stored tubers. If any are shrivelled, plunge them into a bucket or container of lukewarm water overnight.
  • Cutaway rotted parts of the tubers.
  • In the greenhouse – take cuttings.

Gladioli

  • Sprout in the greenhouse at 10 degrees centigrade. 

Irises

  • Order Spring flowering Dutch Iris bulbs.
  • To protect the booms from the weather, place cloches over Dutch irises that you wish to cut. 

Lilies

  • Plant bulbs when the weather is mild. 
  • When choosing to purchase bulbs, choose plump, healthy bulbs that haven’t dried up. 
  • When buds are shown, protect using cloches.
  • In the greenhouse – sow seeds—plant bulbs of stem-rooting lilies. When buds appear, feed weekly and keep the temperature between 17 to 21 degrees centigrade.

Roses

  • If the soil isn’t wet, sticky or any frost cover, continue with the planting of roses.
  • If the weather is poor, heel in the roses.
  • Support bushes that are being battered by the winter gales/wind. Also, firm the soil around them.
  • Roses in the greenhouse – Maintain a temperature of approximately 16 degrees centigrade during the day. Water once a week.

Annuals

Alpines

  • Firm any plants that have been loosened by frost.
  • To keep weeds down, cover the soil with stone chippings.
  • Place slug pellets among the plants when the weather is mild.
  • In the greenhouse – propagate alpines by taking root cuttings. Root them in a cold frame using sandy compost. Re-pot when they have produced leaves.

Bulbs

  • Bring in bulbs for them to flower indoors.
  • Once they have finished flowering, plant outdoors.
  • Check bulbs, corms and tubers that you have stored. Destroy any that are diseased.
  • In the greenhouse – plant Begonia, Gloriosa, Achimenes and Hippeastrum in a cool greenhouse. 

Flowers from seed

  • Plan / design your planting programme for Spring. 
  • Order seeds ready for the Spring.
  • Lightly fork over beds and work in bone meal into the soil.
  • In the greenhouse – sow the first of the half-hardy annuals.

Heathers

  • Firm newly planted heathers that have been lifted by the frost.
  • Plant heathers when the weather is suitable.

Rhododendrons and Azaleas

  • Prepare the ground for planting during mild weather.

Sweet peas

  • Erect supports for plants.
  • Sow seeds outdoors in their flowering positions.
  • Pinch out growing tips of autumn-sown sweet peas.

Late Winter

Greenhouse and Cloches

  • Spray fuchsias, heliotropes and hydrangeas with water to encourage growth.
  • Prune greenhouse climbing plants.
  • Pick off any dead or dying leaves before they begin to rot.
  • Keep watering to a minimum and ventilate the greenhouse during mild days.
  • Sow tomato seeds for planting on in April.
  • Remove discoloured fronds from ferns and divide/report.
  • Clean the glass to allow as much sunlight as possible.
  • Sow bedding plant seeds.

Late Winter

Pond, water plants and Rock Plants

  • Continue to protect your pond against the ice. 
  • Purchase and install a pond heater if thick ice is a problem.

Late Winter

Lawn

  • New lawns – Continue with the preparation of the ground, so it’s ready for Spring sowing.
  • If the weather is mild, lay a new lawn from turf.
  • Well-established lawns – Treat for moss.

Late Winter

Wildlife

  • INFORMATION COMING SOON!