How to protect your garden for winter
The Eden gardeners share their tips for keeping your garden snug in cold weather, helping to protect plants from frost and snow.
So what’s the best way of protecting your plants from frost and snow in winter? Here at Eden we’ve taken to wrapping up some of our more exotic plants with swathes of fleece to keep them warm, as our Outdoor Gardens are in a bit of a ‘frost pocket’. They’re planted in a former clay pit where the low winter sun can’t always penetrate.
But there are lots of other things you can do to protect plants in winter – both in preparation for a cold snap, or once it’s already here.
Five ways you can winter-proof your own garden
- If you’re reading this in the snow, clear it off plants and branches straight away to improve their chances of survival.
- Cover and insulate plants. If you have no undercover storage space, consider covering plants with a cold frame, which is specially designed to protect small areas. For larger garden beds, you can buy special insulating fleece – or use sheets of bubble wrap. At Eden we put straw in the hearts of our tree ferns to insulate them.
Special tip: Make sure you cover plants at the warmest part of the day, when plants aren't already frozen (otherwise you will trap in the cold). If using fleece or bubblewrap, drive several canes or sticks into the ground so that you can make a 'tent' which doesn't touch the plants, so really protecting them from snow and frost.
- Mulch the root zone of perennials, evergreens, conifers and tender shrubs with straw, compost or bark to prevent the ground from freezing.
- If you can, lift non-hardy plants such as Pelargoniums, Canna and Dahlias and store them in a sheltered area such as a greenhouse, conservatory or shed.
- Don’t forget the worms! Wrap up compost bins so that the worms are warm enough to keep on turning your kitchen waste into compost. Old carpet or bubble wrap works a treat.
Of course there is a silver lining to the cold winter. It gives hardy and native plants a good rest, meaning they tend to flower really well the following spring or summer.
Plus, the low temperatures also keep pests and disease in check.
And of course, gardens can look stunning in frost.