Everyone seems to want to get on with planting ready for spring but do hold on until you have a frost which will kill off the summer bedding plants before you rush out trying to clear everything away.
Remember, winter will feel a bit shorter all the time you can see a few flowers and lots of foliage furnishing the garden.
If you would like to make a start there’s nothing wrong in going out to buy plants. Just make sure you look after them.
Put them in a nice light place so they continue to grow. If you do this, you can select the colours you would like and forget all about everything being ‘mixed’.
Hanging baskets are often a failure during the winter so it’s time to dismantle them.
They are far too exposed up in the air, being blasted by cold winds every few days, so take them down once their contents have stopped blooming.
Shake out the old compost and put it on to a border or into the compost heap.
Now clean them up and put them away until next May. However, you could use the upturned baskets to cover and protect tulip bulbs in the rock garden.
To enhance a wall however, because of the protection a wall affords, flat-backed wall baskets are fine.
You can achieve a very good display if they are fixed so one is about two feet below the other.
While it may not be possible to achieve a cascade of flowers similar to those enjoyed during the summer, it can still look really good.
The compost for plant containers is quite important.
Garden soil on its own is useless. We need a good compost and John Innes number three is the strongest and a lot less likely to dry out or for that matter, become too wet.
If you had summer plants in containers it’s a good idea at this time of year to take out the top half of the compost and replace it with fresh compost. This not only sustains the plants but it gives you the opportunity to take out any vine weevil grubs which may be devouring the roots of the old flowers.
Tubs, troughs and pots are best emptied completely so pieces of broken flower pot can be placed over the holes in the bottom so excess water may escape. After emptying them, half fill them with the old compost and then top up with the new.
Next summer we shall have to renew the compost with fresh John Innes compost.
Remember to put all containers on little feet so that earthworms can’t get into the compost.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Before putting away plastic garden furniture give it a good wash using Flash. It brings it up like new. Allow to dry before covering with especially-manufactured garden furniture covers.