With us now in the throes of 2021 and the winter months upon us, you may feel less enthused about venturing out into the cooler temperatures, to potter around your garden. You might find you don’t really know what the next steps are, to help nurture your outdoor space. As growth of plant life slows down, most blooms die back, leaves drop off, and the biting frost isn’t far away – everything in the garden cries out for some TLC.

If you’re committed to growing during the winter season, you will need to be more selective about the plants you choose but planting with success is still possible. There’s no reason why you can’t change things up, swapping your tomatoes for spring onions in the greenhouse and switching your potted sunflowers for a winter heather.

With so many of us embracing our gardens than ever before this year, especially during the spring and summer months of lockdown, it would be a shame not to carry on loving our outdoor spaces until the end of the year, celebrating the joy and hope they have brought to our lives.

Read our guide below from online compost retailer, Compost Direct, offering ways in which you can change your focus and find your path in winter gardening.

Recycle fallen leaves

One of the first winter jobs to start with could be raking up the fallen autumn leaves. As well as preventing any slippery accidents on your driveway or decking, collected leaves can be composted or turned into leaf mould, a great nutritious material, ideal for potting or mulching. If you’re new to creating leaf mould and want to give it a go, Monty Don demonstrates the process perfectly, here.

Wrap up your shrubs

For the shrubs you want to protect from the cold elements and frost, wrap them up in a fleece jacket stuffed with straw. Our harsh winter weather can also cause terracotta pots to crack, so to help ensure they last for many years to come, tuck them away in a shed, garage or indoors.

Help wildlife get through the winter months

There may be some colourful winter berries about during the winter months, but generally sources of food are more limited for our garden wildlife. Give the birds a boost by placing water baths and feeders around your outdoor space. If you have a garden pond, remember to break the ice on it, if temperatures fall below zero and that will offer wildlife of all sizes with some drinking water.

Don’t forget about your garden taps

Since the frosty weather can cause the outside taps in your garden to burst, it’s important to isolate every tap, where possible, from the stop tap. After turning off the tap, drain it too. For those that can’t do this, it’s best to place a cover over the tap and insulate the pipes. 

Yes, winter vegetables are a thing

Most people don’t think about growing vegetables during the winter months but if there’s a will, there’s a way! Not all vegetables will thrive and survive the cold, damp conditions of winter but here’s a few that will.

  • Carrots – Not only are they bursting with vitamin A and beta-carotene, but they also help keep your eyes healthy. With the dark nights approaching fast, carrots are a must!
  • Rocket – Rich in vitamin C, K, and A, rocket is the perfect crop to grow in your garden this winter. 
  • Spring onions – These crops thrive in the winter months. Not only that, but when they are left to ‘bulb up’ in the later months of the year, they can grow into onions too. Efficiency is key.
  • Brussels sprouts – With Christmas approaching, producing your own Brussels sprouts suits the occasion perfectly.

Flowers that can withstand the chills of winter

Rather than leaving your summer blooms to slowly wilt away over the colder season, you could replant some winter alternatives, to add a pop of colour to your outdoor space.

  • Christmas roses: Get into the Christmas spirit with these large, rounded, flat-faced flowers. To glean the best results, plant at the front of a partially shaded border.
  • Winter aconites: These golden yellow flowers are beautifully divided by leafy bracts and take a buttercup-style formation. Blossoming best from mid to late winter, these will make a vibrant addition to your garden.
  • Snowdrops: Embrace the winter chill with these bright white flowers.
  • Winter heather: Add a splash of purple, pink, and blue to your garden with these gradually spreading blossoms.

Stay snug and take in the sky at night

To add the final finishing touches to your garden this winter, investing in some cosy décor can help bring light and warmth to your outdoor space. With the market boasting a plethora of cute and stylish outdoor decorations, these can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you wish – you choose.

A firepit is a great place to start. For evenings that bring a spectacular winter sunset and nights that mark a glorious full moon or bring a display of stars – firepits will not only add a rustic vibe to your garden but help keep you snug. Grab a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate and your winter evenings are complete!

Light up your outdoor space

Lights can add the extra-cosy effect your garden craves. By placing fairy lights around your fence or the wooden gazebo you have left abandoned in the corner, you can add an authentic and warming feel to your exterior – just make sure the lights are suited for outdoor use.

As the seasons come and go, with a little bit of planning and elbow grease, you can help your garden aesthetic to evolve with it. Keep loving your garden through the winter and it will love you back, helping you to weather any current uncertainties and hardships you might be facing personally during the pandemic.