Gardening: Georgina Burnett gives tips for furniture makeover

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Although January’s cold weather and lack of sunlight may not be optimum weather for blooming flowers, there are still plenty of tasks that can be done around the garden. From maintenance to protection, your dormant plants still need a little bit of TLC in the chillier months. A recent study by Miracle-Gro has revealed that 65 percent of Britons would like their gardens to look as nice in the autumn and winter as it does in the summer, but 23 percent have no idea how to maintain the same standards as the seasons change.

Kate Turner, gardening expert at Miracle-Gro, has shared what gardeners should be doing throughout winter to protect their garden.

She explained that winter is the best time of year to plant bare root plants such as roses and fruit bushes.

She said: “Bare root plants are lifted from the soil when they are dormant, so they are cheaper to transport and less likely to be damaged. 

“There is also a much wider choice of roses and bushes available in this way.

“It is important not to plant them if the soil is frozen or waterlogged and if there has been an early morning frost then wait till the afternoon to see if the soil is softer. 

“Don’t forget to label the plant, as they will stay dormant till the spring and it’s all too easy to forget what you’ve planted.”

Winter is the time of year that your greenhouse needs extra care to remove any pests and disease that could be lurking in there, according to the expert.

Kate said: “Don’t forget this also applies to any pots you might have stored inside!

“Clean the glass to allow maximum light through and check for any broken panes or cracks, as the wind will get in and cause the glass to shatter.

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“The same applies if you have a plastic greenhouse – check and repair any tears before they become too large.”

It could be worth wrapping bubble wrap around the greenhouse for extra insulation and investing in a heater if you have lots of exotic plants.

It is also important to maintain your lawn mower this season.

Kate said: “Before putting your mower away for winter give it a good clean removing all grass and other debris. 

“If you can, take your mower to get the blades sharpened now so you are ready for spring and empty any fuel from a petrol mower as old fuel just clogs up the engine.”

If you have a pond for wildlife the best time of year to clean it out is in late autumn or winter.

Kate explained that If there is any excess vegetation in the pond area, make sure to leave it along the side for at least two days to enable any wildlife to go back in the water before composting.

She said: “Making sure there are plenty of habitat areas close to the pond for wildlife to use in winter such as log piles, pots stuffed with straw and stone piles can help retain wildlife to the pond area. Once these are in place, don’t move them until spring.”

Any fallen leaves which have travelled into the pond should be removed as these decay.

Kate said: “I recommend skimming the water with a small net, put the leaves to the side to allow escape before disposing of them.”

If any ice has formed over the pond during the night, never smash it.

Instead, Kate said: “Place a floating ball in the water or a pan of boiling water on the ice to slowly melt it. 

“This will ensure there is a small area of water for drinking and access and will also release any build-up of methane gas that can accumulate from decaying plants.

“If you have a container pond and it’s easy to move, I recommend relocating it to a frost free area or insulate it as the shallower a pond, the quicker it is to freeze.”


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