If you’re anything like me, then you’re most probably very good at starting a ‘weather-related’ conversation. I often wonder why it’s one of our go-to conversation topics, and personally I think it is to do with the fact that our weather is constantly changing. August, for example, has seen soaring temperatures, high winds and heavy downpours with the arrival of storm Francis.
Reflecting on the impact of inclement weather, it’s vital that you think about how you can weatherproof your garden. Here are my top tips:
Know how the different seasons impact where you live
Every season brings different weather conditions, so knowing these and being prepared for your local weather patterns is essential. Where I live I tend to escape severe winters but we do still get sharp frosts, so to help protect against these I always make sure I keep some horticultural fleece on standby to protect vulnerable plants. I’ve been known to protect bay trees and newly planted Buxus. With frosts starting relatively soon for some parts of the UK, I would recommend getting organised and purchasing some fleece now.
Mulch, mulch and more mulch
I add mulch in the Autumn and Spring to all my borders and hedging. It not only provides nutrients but also helps keep the weeds at bay. Mulching is quite a physically demanding job, but well worth it. It also adds a layer of protection, so if you don’t wish to dig up your dahlia bulbs (they are extremely susceptible to frost) then you can protect them by adding a very thick layer of mulch. Think of it as a duvet for your borders.
Go steady with the scissors
I tend to leave on previous seasons’ growth until spring as it helps provide valuable frost protection during the winter. A good example of this are hydrangea blooms. Don’t be tempted to snip, just allow them to dry and wait until Spring arrives before you prune.
If you are thinking of creating a cut flower garden then I recommend creating raised beds. Not only do they help protect from being munched on by slugs but they also warm up faster in the Spring months, meaning earlier flowers.
Invest in a greenhouse and cold frame
I’m hoping to get a greenhouse for next year as they are so useful for starting off plants off early and protecting them from frosts. Don’t panic if you don’t have space, a window sill will do.
Hedging is vital as it provides a windbreak for your garden. It can come in the form of fencing panels or as a natural barrier, for example, beech hedging. My garden is quite exposed so I’ve sectioned it off and added protection by adding ivy screen hedging and beech hedging around the perimeter of my garden. The one area I have yet to do is create protection around is my cut flower raised bed. The importance of this was proved just this week after storm Francis arrived and I lost two of my dahlias, despite them both being staked. Creating some sort of protection around this is definitely be on my to-do list come October!
Research your plants
Make sure you choose plants that are suited to your garden and their position in it. If you have chosen tender plants then make sure you grow them in a warm sunny spot, like against a south-facing wall, which will provide some extra warmth and winter protection.
Here’s hoping for a few more weeks of warmth but who knows what is around the corner, Summer and Autumn may arrive and depart in one week so best be prepared!
With love and stay safe, Flowers and Lifestyle by Margot –
Find out more about me – www.flowersandlifestylebymargot.co.uk