Family planting pansy winter flowering annuals in garden

Preparing your Garden For Winter - Your May To-Do List

As the seasons change and the temperatures drop, it's time to start preparing your garden for winter, this can help ensure that your plants and soil are protected and ready for spring. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or new to the hobby, follow these essential tips to get your garden winter-ready.

Your May "To-Do" List In the Garden:

Bright Red Single Flower Poppy (Poppy Champagne Scarlet)

Plant winter-flowering annuals: May marks the start of winter in South Africa. As the weather cools down and the days grow shorter, it's time to plant winter flowering annuals to brighten up your garden. Winter flowering annuals are plants that can tolerate colder temperatures and shorter daylight hours, providing colour and interest throughout the winter months. Some popular varieties include pansies, poppies, primula’s, and calendula. You can view more varieties to sow now on our sowing guide, or view our Autumn/Winter collection. These plants come in a variety of colours and are easy to grow in containers or directly in the ground. By planting winter flowering annuals, you can keep your garden looking beautiful and colourful even in the depths of winter. Plus, many of these plants have an amazing fragrance, adding an extra sensory dimension to your outdoor space. So why not brighten up your winter garden with some beautiful and hardy winter flowering annuals?

Prune shrubs and trees: Before the cold weather sets in, it's a good idea to prune your shrubs and trees. Pruning trees and shrubs in winter helps to maintain their health and shape. This is typically done by removing dead, diseased, or damaged wood, as well as thinning out the plant to encourage better airflow and light penetration. It is important to use the right tools and techniques when pruning, as improper pruning can cause more harm than good.

Mulch in flower bedsMulch your garden beds: Mulching is essential to help keep your soil moist and healthy during the dry winter months. Spread a layer of organic mulch such as compost or bark chips over your garden beds to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Mulch is not only beneficial during the growing season but also in winter. During the winter months, mulch acts as an insulator, keeping the soil and roots of plants warm and protected from the harsh winter weather. It helps to maintain a more consistent soil temperature, preventing freeze-thaw cycles that can damage plants. 

Divide and transplant perennials: May is an excellent time to divide and transplant perennials. Perennial plants can become overcrowded over time, which can lead to poor growth and disease. Dividing involves separating the plant into smaller sections, each with its own set of roots and leaves. This process allows the plant to rejuvenate, encourages new growth, and can help to prevent diseases and pests. Plus you get extra plants to spread throughout your garden! Dividing should be done in autumn, before the first frost. Careful attention should be given to the timing and technique of dividing, as well as the appropriate soil and watering conditions for the new sections. With proper care, divided perennials can thrive and provide a beautiful addition to any garden.

Planting Vegetables in your home garden

Start a winter vegetable garden: Starting a vegetable garden in winter is entirely possible, although it may require a bit of extra effort and planning. The first step is to choose vegetables that are well-suited to the cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours that characterise the winter season. Some good options include leafy greens like kale, spinach, and lettuce, as well as root vegetables like carrots, beets, and onions. It is also important to prepare the soil properly, which may involve adding compost or other organic matter to improve its texture and fertility. Additionally, gardeners should be mindful of the need for adequate watering. By taking these steps, anyone can enjoy the benefits of a productive and thriving vegetable garden, even in winter!

Cover tender plants (and trees younger than 3 years) with a frost bag or frost sheeting. This will keep the leaves healthy and prevent frostbite on the plants. 

Ensure that all fallen fruits are removed from the base ground to prevent fungus or disease during the cold months.

Remember, gardening is a great way to get outdoors, exercise, and enjoy the beauty of nature. By following these tips, you can create a beautiful and healthy garden that will thrive throughout the winter months.

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