Keep a gardener busy this winter
If you love to garden you may be wondering what to do to keep your green fingers from getting twitchy over the winter.
Thankfully there are lots of ways for keen gardeners to stay busy over the cold season.
Winter is the perfect season to get ready for next year’s garden. Whether you reflect on the successes of the year, try winter gardening with some greenhouse planting, get inspired by books or enjoy botanical gardens, there’s plenty to keep keen gardeners satisfied over winter.
Plan for Next Year
If you’ve been thinking about changing your garden around, this is the season to do it. It’s also a great time to take stock of what worked in your garden, and what failed.
Get seed catalogues and garden centre guides to plan what you’re going to plant in the spring. Think about the design of your garden, and see if there are any features you can move or install before the garden is in bloom.
Sow The Seeds For Spring
If you have a greenhouse, there’s no need to have it standing empty over winter. As well as offering protection for tender plants, your greenhouse can be a good place to plant new seeds over winter.
Try planting lettuce, rocket, spinach and cress in your greenhouse to eat in winter salads. If you like herbs, put your chives, mint and parsley in pots in the greenhouse to harvest through winter. If you have a heated greenhouse, you will even be able to sow plants like tomatoes and peppers in a propagator.
Be sure to keep an eye on the weather and make sure you have fleeces and other equipment to help protect delicate greenhouse plants in the coldest weather.
If you don’t have a greenhouse, Which? has a great guide on how to buy the best greenhouse.
There are still some plants you can put in the garden during autumn which will grow over winter and be ready to harvest in summer. Some varieties of garlic, onions and shallots will thrive as they are easy growers and take little looking after when the weather gets colder. Just make sure you mark the beds clearly so there’s no risk of damaging them when it comes to spring seed sowing.
Cosy up with a book
Winter is the perfect time of year to cosy up with an inspiring read and green fingered readers will find plenty of tomes to suit.
Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell is part biography of the children’s author, part study of Potter’s garden, and may inspire you to not just get gardening but to sketch and write too.
A beautiful book for gardeners is the stunning RHS Botany for Gardeners by Geoff Hodge. It’s a practical guide to help gardeners understand more about their plants in order to get more from their gardens, with gorgeous illustrations and great advice.
A guide to gardening that no green fingered reader should be without is Joy Larkcom’s Grow Your Own Vegetables. This book is a classic, and covers all aspects of growing vegetables, from planning your garden to growing techniques.
Explore Local Gardens
Wrap up warmly and head out to a local park or garden this winter to see seasonal plants in bloom. Many of Britain’s beloved Botanical Gardens have seasonal activities that keen gardeners will enjoy, including workshops, art classes, night light shows and Christmas events.
Get in touch with your local community group and see if they have any activities planned for the winter. You may find that people are working together to carry out maintenance or repairs on community gardens and could do with extra volunteers.
Grow Your Christmas List
If you’re a keen gardener then think about putting some garden themed gifts on your Christmas list to get you excited for the spring.
We love this Orla Kiely Scribble Stem Tool Box from John Lewis, the prettiest place to store your essential garden tools.
This Personalised Garden Trowel and Fork Set on Not On The High Street would make a brilliant Christmas gift for keen gardeners, while this Make Your Own Paper Pots kit from Marks and Spencer will keep green fingers busy.
What would be your perfect gardening Christmas present?