Caring Throughout the Cold Months

Birmingham Botanical Gardens has been aglow with the rich autumn colours of orange, yellow and red as the leaves still fall from the trees.

Although the sight of fallen leaves on the ground is beautiful to behold, it’s important that they are removed from borders and lawns on a regular basis to prevent the spread of overwintering pests.

In addition to this, falling leaves that get caught in ponds can cause problems for the wildlife in there and looks unsightly. We would recommend placing netting over your pond to catch stray leaves.  Don’t waste the leaves though, if you collect them and place them in a compost container, you’ll get high quality leaf litter that can be used as soil conditioner in just 12 months or so.

Now that summer greenhouse crops are over, it’s a good idea to give the greenhouse a thorough clean because this will prevent pests from hibernating and rearing their ugly heads next spring. It’s important to hose down the glass really well to allow for maximum light to be let in throughout the winter months. Once you’ve given the greenhouse a good scrub, line the greenhouse with bubble wrap  (available at DIY shops on a large roll) to conserve solar heat during the winter and to reduce heating bills if heated.

Put any tender plants you have in there before the frosts hit. You can reduce watering and keep any plants that lose their stems to the ground, such as dahlias, dry until April. In addition to the above, remember that any plants that are outside may need to be brought in at a moment’s notice due to sudden drops in temperature at this time of year. Not doing this could result in damage to your plants.

You can also carry out some work now on hedges and borders – this will pay dividends next spring, so trim hedges and tidy borders so they are neat. Remember to cut back any herbaceous perennials and burn any diseased material (don’t add it to your compost heaps).

Moreover, summer displays should have been replanted with winter bedding. Autumn brought the ideal planting conditions, as the soil is damp and still warm. If you have space for new trees and shrubs, plant them now, and put in bulbs ready for a spring display. Although you can reduce watering, it’s wise to keep an eye on pots and containers and check for wilting, because plants with leaves should not be allowed to dry out completely.

If you’re looking for other jobs to keep your busy over the coming weekends, why not:
• Cut back perennials that have died down
• Divide herbaceous perennials
• Prune climbing roses
• Finish collecting seeds from the garden to sow next year

To find out more and for more tips, follow Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Twitter @BhamBotanicalGd or visit