Hints & Tips
Gardeners wondering what activities would be most constructive in terms of maintaining their garden throughout November with a cold winter ahead may wish to follow the advice of one expert and look to grow as many colourful plants as possible.
Journalist and editor of the Stopwatchgardener blog Sheila Averbuch suggested winter-coloured dogwoods may be suitable for this purpose, claiming they look very good throughout the cold season as they have brilliant red stems that are not obscured by leaves.
"They look like they've been spray painted," she remarked, adding: "I planted two of them outside my back door last year and right now they look really good and they'll still look good in January."
Hedge trimmers could be useful to some as clipping evergreens into shape was another task Ms Averbuch said may be necessary.
This is because trees with a defined shape can be much more attractive sight in the context of snowy or wet weather.
She also suggested planting something near the door of a house in order to lighten the mood in the dull climate.
One option specified for those interested in undertaking this activity were snowdrops, which Ms Averbuch explained gives an impression of a garden in bloom, even in late December.
Similarly, the BBC recommends growing bright winter-blooming flowers to bring indoors as houseplants – hyacinths bloom in gorgeous blue colours and have a strong floral scent.
Additionally, if the bulbs are planted in the garden after flowering, they can survive for many years.
Weather forecasters are predicting this winter to be one of the coldest experienced in this country for several decades, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
Horticultural adviser for the organisation Nicola Bristow acknowledged this was difficult to predict accurately, but recommended being ready for the worst.
"A little planning and preparation will help ensure plants survive the deepest snowfall or hardest of frosts. Believe it or not cold winters can actually be good for gardens as warm winters may prevent the protective deep dormancy in many trees and shrubs. If this happens it increases their susceptibility to later frosts and scorch caused by cold winds," the expert commented.
Mulching was one measure the RHS suggested taking in early November in order to protect plants from the cold.
Using compost to do this can prevent erosion and soil compaction that can be a problem following spells of heavy rain and MowDIRECT offers a range of tools ideally suited to this purpose.
Hedgecutters may also be necessary for the maintenance of such plant life and the group claimed now is a good time to consider using these to provide protection from the wind for smaller and more fragile forms of vegetation.
Additional protection from ice can be provided with wrapping, which is said to be a good solution by both the RHS and the BBC, especially for delicate flowers, succulents and tree ferns.
Ms Bristow encouraged optimism if some of the garden is not looking too healthy, as lots of plants can burst to life in summer, even after looking close to death throughout winter and spring.