Winter gardening tips
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Winter gardening can seem pointless with the cold weather and frosty mornings leaving little able to grow outdoors. With the autumn harvest long gone, you may be wondering how to rejuvenate your garden and fill in empty spaces in time for Spring. Express.co.uk spoke to award-winning garden designer, Polly Wilkinson to find out what you can get going in the garden in the run-up to Christmas.
What can I plant in my garden in December?
As Christmas approaches and our homes become filled with decorations, it can feel deflating when looking out onto a largely empty garden.
With little in season through the winter, gardens across Britain can begin to look bleak and uninviting as the autumn leaves disappear and branches become even barer.
While it may be tempting to abandon gardening until the spring, award-winning garden designer Polly Wilkinson says it’s the perfect time to get prepared for 2022.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Polly said: “December is a great time to get a head start on your garden for the new year.”
Having been awarded three Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) awards, professional garden designer Polly Wilkinson knows a thing or two about preparing a vibrant garden.
Since winning the RHS Silver-Gilt medal at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2018, Polly has gone on to win two further awards in 2019, including the RHS Silver Medal and the RHS People’s Choice Award.
With everything from garden fragrance to spring bulbs covered, Polly has shared her top jobs for the garden this month.
Sow Christmas sweet peas
Polly explained: “I always sow a load of sweet peas on boxing day.
“Sow them indoors, ideally in tall containers to allow for nice long roots to develop.”
Use root trainers to establish your sweet peas, or try empty loo rolls as a recyclable alternative.
Once germinated, move them to a cold frame or greenhouse, says Polly.
Sow broad beans
While the weather is definitely colder, the relatively mild climate makes now the perfect time to sow broad beans.
You can sow them directly outdoors in order to harvest the crop around May or June.
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Sow Christmas onion seeds
Boxing day is also a good time to start sowing onion seeds indoors.
Sow onion seeds similarly to sweet peas and plant outside once spring arrives.
Polly told Express.co.uk: “If you want to get a head start on your annuals for 2022, you can sow laurentia and antirrhinums now for early summer flowers.
“Once any forced hyacinth or narcissi are over, you can plant them out in borders for flowers next year.”
There is still time to plant remaining tulip bulbs too, says Polly – just make sure the soil isn’t frozen or waterlogged when doing so.
Plant fragrant flowers
There’s nothing like the smell of fresh flowers in the summer and you can recreate this alfresco scent through the winter too.
Location is everything when it comes to planting fragrant flowers so be sure to find a prime spot in the garden.
If you want some winter fragrance for the new year, plant a sarcoccoca confusa near a doorway or path for a fabulous scent as you pass by, says Polly
This dense green plant offers stunning foliage and delicate pastel petals made up of white and yellow hues, so make use of it in borders as a dwarf hedge.
Focus on bare roots
Polly also recommends planting up any bare-root deciduous trees or shrubs.
She added: “It’s more economical to do this during the bare root season as the plants are being dug straight from the ground, and are supplied without pots.”
You can plant these out from November through to March, just make sure the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged.
If you’re a rose fan, now’s also a great time to plant roses.
Polly said: “Buy them bare root and you can plant them from November to March.”
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