Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Clear out the Old Now -- and You'll Be Ready for a Fresh New Spring

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Clear out the Old Now -- and You'll Be Ready for a Fresh New Spring

Article excerpt

Byline: Pattie Barron

[bar] HEN the weather turns, resist the temptation to pull down the blinds and leave the garden to its own devices. Just imagine the mess you'll have to deal with in spring.

Leaving flowerpots lying about, for instance, will have clusters of snails clinging like barnacles to the sides until spring, when they will really start to do damage. Instead, scrub pots in hot, soapy water and store.

Slugs and snails love nooks and crannies, so an hour spent on snail patrol is not time wasted. What you do with them is up to you.

To bring in beneficial creepy crawlies to hibernate over winter, grow largeleaved, berrying ivy over the back fence. A small, untidy logpile in a shady corner will serve as wildlife habitat.

Clean up the borders by cutting back and clearing dead or decaying foliage, leaving seedheads for the birds and as decoration. Renovate the lawn by raking up thatched grass, aerating compacted patches with a garden fork then brushing in sand. Replace worn turf.

Roses that suffered from blackspot will do likewise next year unless you clear up and destroy the infected leaves on the ground. Cut back rose bushes by about a third to prevent wind damaging roots or breaking stems.

While you're out there, assess the garden. Recall what worked, what didn't, and make a few plans for next year. A bag of daffodil bulbs planted in the lawn now will make you smile come spring; a dozen or more allium bulbs will transform next summer's border; a tray of winter-flowering pansies could fill a trio of containers on the patio.

Replenish the soil in raised and vegetable beds by adding garden compost, or garden centre bagged farmyard manure. Either work it into the top layer of soil or simply fork it over the top, and let the worms drag it down.

If a rose or shrub didn't flower this summer, chances are it's not happy in its current spot, so move it to a more suitable one. Add some beneficial mycorrhizal fungi to the planting hole (davidaustinroses. …

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