JOHN’S JOURNAL

How to Encourage Winter Wildlife

The Summer garden is always a place filled with Bees and Butterflies along with a host of other insects and pollinators and people sometimes forget just how much wildlife you can attract into the Winter Garden, Birds, Hedgehogs and other animals are all keen to find food and shelter so let’s take a look at the different types of plants which help to encourage winter Wildlife into your garden.

There are many beautiful plants out there which produce berries, ornate and also natural with them being the number one food source for winter birds. Hawthorns are filled with berries at this time of year, and great for forming specimen plants at the perimeter of large gardens, in untrimmed hedgerows and also perfect for trimming and including in natural winter displays. The Holly bushes are also brimming with fruit at this time of year, green holly and also several variegated forms also available, and then there’s ornamental plants like Pyracantha and Pernettyas, great for positioning around the gardening with their varying colours of fruits. Always remember to feed berrying plants with a good fruit tree fertilizer in the summer months, this way it gives the plants the energy to produce flowers in the Spring which then get pollinated, meaning you will have berries galore! Don’t forget to also position feeders and bird tables with seeds and fats for our feathered friends as well, the berries only last for so long and when a cold snap comes you can literally watch them disappear.

Overwintering birds and also other wildlife love bushy evergreen plants, conifers provide a great shelter and also a place for our feathered friends to nest, and other dense evergreens like Cotoneaster and Bays also provide such shelter. Other animals like Hedgehogs look to make shelters for themselves made out of branches and covered in twigs and leaves, down at the bottom of the garden and they can then make their little homes, and also help you tackle the fight against slugs, making the perfect meal for them!

There’s also lots of other flowering plants which look beautiful throughout the Winter as well and some of them the flowers even look like berries, Skimmias are beautiful in the ground and also as features in pots, with their flowers opening in the Spring. Across The Frameyard at the nursery it’s now filled with a wide array of plants for Winter interest, a whole host of varying foliage types along with a variety of berrying plants, and with your perennials now dying back for the winter it’s a perfect chance to add something to give a little colour for the winter months ahead, and not only benefit you but also the wildlife as well!

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

 

Can I repair the pointing in my patio now?

Nowadays there are lots of cement alternatives for pointing up patios, with more flexibility and also very durable, they are the perfect choice. You can also use them during wet spells as long as the temperature is above 3 degrees. Make sure to rake out any old pointing to a depth of 20mm and then you brush it in. yes it’s more expensive than cement however it lasts a lot better in the long run

 

When planting do I have to mix anything in?

You always want to mix in some organic matter when planting in your garden, either use your own compost from the compost heap or mix in some rotted manure or spent mushroom compost to help open up the soil and encourage strong root development, if the roots are happy then the top will follow

 

Do I feed my plants now?

Only feed topiary and any evergreens in pots if you haven’t done so already, you leave all the feeding of your shrubs or perennials until the Spring months, make a note in your diary for early March and Vitax Q4 is perfect.

 

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

1 –Mulch Pots

Top up the mulch on your pots with either bark or you can use Moss for a beautiful timeless feel

2– Plant Winter Cabbages

Perfect for adding colour amongst other container plants with their purple or white leaves

3 – Add Metal Art to Beds

Incorporate metal art into your border to add interest and a bit of variety, animals and obelisks make the perfect addition.

4 – Plant Berrying Plants

Perfect for feeding the wildlife and also adding Winter interest and colour to your garden

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Picea Albertiana Conica

A characterful dwarf conifer perfect for having in pots or containers or in the garden. You can wrap the pot at this time of year with hessian and use them as mini Christmas trees, always adding a little white spray to add the effect of snow on the leaves.