We’re getting to the end of the winter period, but there’s still plenty of opportunities for the British weather to ravage all your hard work in the garden. Whether it’s gale-force winds, torrential downpours or biting frost, the colder months can cause untold damage to the plants and paraphernalia that give your garden character. Here are the best ways to keep your garden protected against the worst of the British weather.
Safeguarding against the wind
The worst winds are hugely damaging, wreaking havoc on your garden. Whilst you can’t completely protect against it, you can restrict its impact. Check to see if your fences are loose, and consider investing in reinforcement products - it’ll be cheaper than new panels and replacing anything they damage when they come loose.
If you have trees in your garden, look out for loose branches the wind could easily break off, as these have the potential to turn into missiles that wage war on your garden. The wind can directly damage your potted plants and also the pots they are in, so you must bring them inside ahead of severe storms. If you embed a cloche around fragile bedded plants, this will also protect them from being destroyed by the wind.
Also, ensure there’s nothing potentially damaging near your greenhouses and conservatories - you don’t want anything whipped up that hits and consequently cracks (or worse smashes) a window. Make sure all tools are locked away, alongside your garden furniture.
Avoid the damage of too much rain
Although it’s essential for your garden, rain isn’t always beneficial for your plants, particularly if there is too much of it. Trees and shrubs are likely to be hardy enough to withstand heavy downpours, but taller plants may still benefit from being tied to a wooden or metal support structure. The rain can expose roots, so after severe rainfall be sure to check them for rot.
It’s prudent to protect your smaller plants as well. If you know there’s a heavy or damaging storm on the way; you can cover vegetable patches or flower beds with tarpaulin. Check pots after heavy rain to ensure that the water has thoroughly drained; otherwise, you could drown your plants in soggy soil.
Heavy rain also brings threats and opportunities from a couple of garden pests. Slugs and snails love moist conditions, so if the temperature is above five degrees, you may see an emergence of these vegetable destroying creatures. Is it worth starting your slug control early? Heavy rain also makes it easier to start weeding, so take the opportunity once a storm passes to pull up any you spot.
Soften the snap of frost
A frost can kill off anything growing in your garden, especially if you’ve recently planted them and they’re in their infancy. At dusk, anything you can bring inside, essentially anything potted or in a basket, do so. Just make sure it isn’t too warm as the contrast in temperatures can shock the plants. A garage or shed is perfect for this, and you can return them to their natural habitat the following day.
Also considering watering your plants early in the afternoon. Moist soil will radiate heat upwards as the night comes, but you must do this when it’s warm enough, so you don’t cause the freeze early. Adding mulch will also have a similar insulating effect for your plants, whilst you can protect large beds or individual plants with a covering or cloche, as with rain and wind.
And finally, we’ve spoken previously about the measures you take to protect the fish in your pond during winter, so if the cold snap is severe enough then make sure there is a hole broken in the ice to allow oxygen to pass through. We hope these simple steps ensure your garden and all its glory isn’t damaged too much by severe weather conditions.