As the days start to draw in, autumn could be mistaken for a time where you can relax and put your feet up in the garden. But not so fast! Just as we might prepare for the colder, darker months by getting the heating on, lighting a candle or two and settling in front of the TV, the garden needs a bit of TLC at this time too. There are some important winter garden jobs to crack on with after the colourful bounty of summer.
It’s time to batten down the hatches in your garden – cleaning up, tidying away tender plants and making sure everything’s ship-shape for next spring. You’ll thank yourself once the milder weather comes around again! Here are my top winter garden jobs to get sorted in autumn.
Protect your water sources
As leaves are falling and the temperatures start to fall, it’s really important to take a look at the water sources in your garden. Clean out fallen leaves from gutters and water butts, and make sure there are no leaks. Ensuer the lid on your water butt is fitting correctly in order to avoid leaves or any other nasties falling in. If you have a garden tap, protect it using bubble wrap or fleece to stop it from freezing.
Spring (or autumn) clean your greenhouse
After being a veritable hub of activity throughout the summer, your greenhouse might be looking a little worse for wear. Spending a bit of time clearing out unused or excess equipment, sweeping up and getting rid of pests in your greenhouse are really important winter garden jobs. Give your tools a clean and sharpen if they’ve had a lot of use this summer, so they’re spanking new for next spring. For detailed tips on getting your greenhouse sparkling clean, read this article.
Caring for wildlife in your winter garden
As the ground hardens, trees lose their berries and natural food sources are harder to come by, garden wildlife may find themselves struggling for sustenance. You can be a friend to winter wildlife by putting out bird feeders, breaking the ice on your birdbath or garden pond so animals can get a drink, leaving some greenery for animals and bugs to hide away in or even setting up a ‘bug hotel’. Watch this video from the National Trust on helping birds here.
Clean and cover your pond
A pond is a great addition to any garden, but any proud pond owner will know they can take a fair bit of maintenance. During this time of year when leaves are falling, your pond can become very clogged up with leaf matter, which can harm water quality as it decomposes. Give the pond a good clean, and cover it with some netting if possible to catch falling leaves. For further tips, I’ve written a detailed article on autumn pond care which can be found here.
Plant for winter colour
For me, it’s really important to still have some colour around the garden during the winter months, just to brighten things up a bit. There are some great hardy plants out there that will do brilliantly all the way through winter, so autumn is a great time to think about planting out some of these in beds or containers. In this video, I’ll show you how to plant up a winter planter, and I’ve also written this article about evergreens for your winter garden here.
Fruit tree care
If you’re lucky enough to have some fruit trees in your garden, you may have been enjoying their bounty through the summer. To give them the best chance of another bumper crop next year, it’s important to give your fruit trees a bit of winter maintenance too. Don’t prune just yet – this job is best left until spring, when the tender new growth pruning encourages will be safe from frost damage. It’s a good idea to tidy up the ground around any fruit trees and give them a good mulch – find some more tips on autumn fruit tree care here.
Remember, I offer bespoke advice on Zoom garden consultations, which you can book here. The autumn is a great time to look ahead in your garden, and start sowing seeds of ideas for planting and garden design next year.
Happy gardening! Katie x