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The winter gardener

The winter gardener

There’s no reason to neglect your garden just because it’s cold and bleak outside. Gardening is good for your soul 365 days of the year, says garden designer Joanna Archer. Time to wrap up warm and get outside.

“The easy option at this point of the winter is to reach for a box set and ignore the bleakness outside. Before you put your feet up and resolve not to move until April, listen to the scientists! Nature is proven to have a positive effect on our mood and creativity, as well as lowering stress levels (read The Nature Fix by Florence Williams – it’s such an eye opener on this subject). I certainly find short bursts of gardening help me through the darker days. The methodical sweeping and peaceful snipping gradually calms the chatter in my head, and afterwards, it’s hard to beat that rosy-cheeked, all-warmed-up feeling you get from being outside in the fresh air.

There are jobs to do, probably because like me you ran out of time to do them in December. Grab some gardening gloves (these are my favourite and enjoy the rewards of being outdoors:

Collect up old leaves and make it your resolution to create leaf mould this year. Simply bag up deciduous leaves, dampen slightly, perforate the bags with a few holes and place somewhere out of sight for a year. This is liquid gold for your planting beds at no cost whatsoever.

Plant bare root shrubs, trees and hedges: as long as the ground isn’t actually frozen, it’s still a good time to get these in the soil while the plants are dormant – and it’s cheaper to buy bare root than wait for the potted-up versions. Yellow was at the forefront of Chelsea Flower Show trends last year, so you could try this sumptuous Rose ‘Vanessa Bell’ from David Austin.

After you’ve hoed the inevitable weeds, hosed down the patio, cleaned (and dried) your tools, treat yourself to an order of summer flowering plants. A haze of sky blue perennials such as Iris ‘Jane Phillips’ and bee-loving Nepeta x faassenii would make great companions to your new rose, all available from Crocus.

If you’re a scissor-happy gardener, get to grips with your Wisteria and climbing Hydrangea, which need a winter prune around now, and deadhead your winter flowering container plants (Pansies and the like) to prolong their blooms.

Don’t forget to feed and water your garden birds.”

Joanna Archer, Garden Designer; @joannaarchergardendesign

Photography credits:

David Austin; @david_austin_roses



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