You may think that winter is the perfect time to give your green fingers a rest, yet there are many plants and veggies that thrive during this chilly team of the year. And depending on where in South Africa you find yourself, professional Gardeners and Landscape Architects can either be slowing down for winter, or speeding up their work to maintain clients’ winter gardens.
And just in case you were wondering what you can do to tie your garden over until spring arrives, read on!
Winter reveals the bones of your garden with (most of) its leaves and florals stripped away – the perfect opportunity to consider another layout.
If you live in a region with dry winters (i.e. Free State), maybe think about what a new pergola (or archway, or pathway, or differently designed beds) can mean for your garden come spring.
For many plants, the best time for pruning is when they’re dormant. Apples, pears, and many roses fall into this category – fail to prune in winter and you’ll be pruning for failure after winter.
There’s no reason why your garden needs to be a dead oasis for 3+ months every year. Seeds of petunia, dianthus, African daisy, Bokbaai vygie, Iceland poppies, violas, pansies, foxgloves, and snapdragon have proven to be quite hardy to frost!
Thinking of gardening as “basically cleaning outside and just as satisfying” is a great mindset, specifically during winter. So, see the next few months as an opportunity to zhoosh up your outdoor spaces by keeping it as neat and clean as possible via raking, pruning, etc.
Now’s the ideal time to give your gardening tools a decent cleaning before spring arrives, particularly the more popular ones like rakes, pruners, watering cans, etc. This should be considered vital for everyone with a garden since pots, spades, shoes and glass panes all house various pests (fungal, viral, and bacterial), not to mention insects.
The more tools you have, the more time you’re going to have to devote to this one.
If your area is prone to frost in winter, be sure not to plant anything that’s not frost hardy unless you’re prepared to go the extra mile in terms of maintenance and protection. Plants susceptible to frost need to be covered with lightweight horticultural fleece which can be picked up from garden centres.
But what about those branches, leaves and shrubs that are already beginning to show signs of frost? Whatever you do, don’t cut them off. Rather leave them until the most dangerous time for frost has passed, as they help to protect the plants from additional winter damage.
It’s not uncommon to find households with more interior plants than outside ones. So, see winter as the ideal time to turn your attention to the potted pretties inside your house. Talk to them (as you normally would), give them a once over for issues, tidy up those dead leaves, ensure they get as much (or as little) sun as they need, and consider re-potting them towards the end of winter.
Speaking of indoor gardens, This is how you keep your houseplants alive in winter.