Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Get the Garden Set for Winter

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Get the Garden Set for Winter

Article excerpt

There's still time to finish all those autumn tasks before the frosts make the ground unworkable and it's more tempting to be indoors next to a roaring fire. Hannah Stephenson offers a reminder of all those jobs to do before winter sets in.

PARTS of Britain may have had storms and rain, but while the ground's workable, gardeners should make the most of the time they have left to do the jobs which will give them a head start next year.

Whether it's revamping your lawn, dividing perennials, trimming hedges, clearing weeds or preparing the greenhouse for winter, you should leave no stone unturned if you want to get things in order for spring.

Don't delay in completing these tasks: Plant new trees, shrubs and roses These should benefit from the warm soil, which encourages root growth to develop quickly. You will need to give them a good soak when planting initially, but hopefully rain will play a part too. Just keep an eye on newly-planted specimens and don't allow them to dry out if we don't have wet weather. The plants should establish over the winter, giving you a head start for spring.

Revamp your lawn With all the autumn rain we've had, the ground will be soft enough to either turf or reseed a new lawn, or repair an old one. If you are laying new turf, good preparation is the key, which will mean removing weeds and stones, digging over the soil adding compost or well-rotted farmyard manure and incorporating sharp grit on heavy soil, and levelling the area off to a fine tilth on which to sow seed or lay turf. It needs to be kept well watered, although the rain should help at this time of year, and seed needs to be protected from birds with netting, elevated by placing shortened twigs or canes around the area and securing the netting to them.

Divide perennials Now is the perfect time to split those plants which have become congested while they are dormant but before the ground becomes too hard to dig them out. Perennials which benefit from dividing every few years include hostas (but you'll need a knife to cut through the thick roots), cranesbill geranium, montbretia, rudbeckia, helenium and aster. …

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