As we know it’s the season of plenty – plenty of rain, wind and cold weather that is, and a time when our gardens have to be at their most hardiest for the winter months. So what can we do to baton down our borders and protect our plants? Living in Cornwall we are treated to slightly milder winters but there is still some maintenance to be carried out, so wrap up warm, don your wellies and get into the garden.
- Dig up any annuals, add them to the compost and replace with winter bedding plants for a burst of colour in early spring.
- Cut back perennials to just above 5cm from the ground and divide up any over crowded looking plants,cutting off any diseased looking foliage.
- Add a good layer of bark, compost or manure to the nicely cleared soil to tuck everything in nicely for the winter.
- Rake up any deep piles of leaves to avoid rot on grass and paved areas and put into wire mesh bins to make a good leaf mulch ready in a couple of years time. Protect your pond from these pesky leave also by covering or meshing to avoid rotting leaves and a foul smelling water feature!
- Wrap wire around the bottom of young trees to avoid nibblers such as squirrels, deer and other small rodents damaging the base.
- Keep beautiful Cornish Palms protected and warm for the season by tying up with strong twine, placing a layer of straw around the base and covering with frost protection fleece to ensure they survive the coldest of winters.
- Ensure you have veggies throughout the winter months by harvesting pumpkins, onions and potatoes now and keep root crops protected from frosts by covering in a thick layer of straw or leaves.
- Don’ t forget the birds that stay around for the winter (find out what wildlife can be seen this time of year in our previous blog here) – leave out scraps of bread, seeds, nuts and fat balls (available at garden centres) for small birds and creatures to feast on over the winter period. Why not see how many species you can spot?
If you prefer to wander around gardens than tackle a wilderness then there are plenty to choose from in Cornwall, from the ornate to the wild, entertaining to relaxing there are gardens suitable for all ages, most of which offer festive activities too. There’s the wilds of Trebah with its trails and adventures for children, the beautiful gardens of the Lost Gardens of Heligan and diverse Trelisick with its coastal walks and ornate gardens where you may even spot some early flowering Camellia!
If you are in need of more tropical climates the Eden Project offers heated domes with an array or tropical and Mediterranean plants all year round. They also offer ice skating and family Christmas activities this time of year. Cornwall is also lucky to have a number of houses (most of which are National trust run) surrounded by lovely gardens to meander. Visit Great British Gardens for a run down of places to visit – however please check winter opening times and warm up warm.