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Make the most of your garden this winter

  • 12 December, 2014

As the nights draw in and days get shorter you may think it’s all over in the garden for this year, however...

There is still plenty to do in preparation for the new season. Now is the time to clear away the old and prepare for the new. Ensure you remove aging foliage and vegetation to avoid rot on the ground.

As autumn leaves fall on the dying plants of summer, it’s the perfect time to think about building a compost heap or incorporating a compost converter into your garden. Composting is a great way to turn household scraps and garden waste into nutrient-rich fertiliser. Weeds, leaves, vegetable scraps, cut flowers, and even newspapers and coffee grounds can all be composted.

It’s an ideal time to dig over empty beds and work in some fertiliser. This will give your soil a nutrient boost over winter, preparing it for fresh planting in spring.

Winter is also a good time to make plans. As plants die back and leaves fall from the trees, you can see the landscape of your garden more clearly. Areas that were full of life during the spring and summer may now be looking rather dull.

If you’re looking for planting ideas to bring colour and interest during the colder months, it’s worth visiting the Winter Garden at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey. A walk around this stunning Winter Garden will provide inspiration for both seasoned and novice gardeners. It is situated close to the Visitor Pavilion and contains more than 650 different winter plants. These species show that winter needn’t be a quiet time for gardens as these plants are at their best from November until March.

In early 2014, the Winter Garden was extended and now covers around 4 acres making it one of the largest Winter Gardens in Europe. Many new plants have been added including 500 cyclamen tubers that were planted as ground cover.

A new large bed has been planted with Salix (willow) and Cornus (dogwoods) with extra height provided by existing birch trees. This simple combination of just four or five plant groups creates a highly effective welcoming scene.

The Winter Garden’s innovative planting schemes draw on a bold palette of bark, coloured stems, scent and foliage to give visual interest, as well as fragrance and texture. There’s plenty on show for visitors to enjoy and gardeners to emulate.

Pictured: snowdrops and cyclamen and the Winter Garden at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey.

For more information on the Winter Garden and opening times visit hilliergardens.org.uk