Five jobs for your garden this weekend – from winter greens to spring blooms

Homebase advises on looking after your garden in winter

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Winter is here to stay and as the last few autumn leaves fall from the trees, it’s time to prepare your garden plants for their dormant period through the winter. With leafy greens and Christmas dinner favourites coming into harvest, there’s plenty of gardening to do this weekend. Marking the first few days of December in the garden is easily done by focusing on a few key areas – and this is what you should start with.

Care for roses

Established roses will come into bloom during the spring so now is a good time to pay close attention to the hardwood stems of these classic English flowers.

As the winds pick up it’s a good idea to cut back loose stems and unsteady shoots which may get damaged from wind-rock – all you need is a pair of sharp secateurs.

Focus on shortening stems and continue planting roses this weekend, while the soil is still somewhat warm.

Always use fresh soil when planting a new rose in place of a wilted flower for a new flush of nutrients.

Resist harvesting winter vegetables

Winter vegetables like green beans, parsnips, potatoes and brussel sprouts may appear ripe but it’s best to leave them for a little longer.

As the temperature continues to plummet, allow your homegrown vegetables to soak up the frost which can enhance the flavour of your crops.

Frost works wonders for the flavour of vegetables by changing the starch reserves into rich, sweet sugars.

Resist harvesting until mid-December and leave some going into early January for an even earthier taste.

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Sort through bulb stores

Autumn has come to an end which means planting season for spring bulbs has come to an end.

With the frosty weather here to stay it’s time to sort through your bulb collection to sift out viable bulbs from those that are rotten or mouldy.

Discard mushy or shrivelled spring bulbs like daffodils and tulips as these are unlikely to flower if planted now.

Keep viable bulbs in a cold, dry place or pot them out into large pots with spent compost to establish spring blooms in time for 2023.

Prepare pots

Begin planting hydrangeas, brooms, roses, houseplant azaleas and lilacs into pots in order to establish potted shrubs for 2022.

Homegrown plants like hydrangeas can be potted with lightweight, peat-free compost and sheltered outdoors until they begin to flower.

Top tips for establishing plants;

Use ornamental pots

Water well once planted

Shelter against a garden wall

Bury pots in an empty border

Once the flowers begin to appear, bring the pots indoors and find a temporary spot for each plant.

Warm, sunny areas work best, so keep window sills and conservatories free ready for these stunning, bright blooms to flourish.

Unheated porches can also be useful to establish the plant earlier than their outdoor season.

When your ornamental shrubs reach full bloom, transplant outside into beds and borders to give them some growing room.

Cut back overgrowth

Taming climbers and deciduous shrubs in winter is the perfect time after the autumn leaves fall.

Regrowth will begin in Spring so do some gentle winter cutting to give your spring shrubs a boost.

Cut robust shrubs and hedging to 20cm from ground level and remove dead or damaged shoots.

Shorten the oldest stems and trim sparingly to avoid cutting back potential growth.

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