As we put 2018 behind us it’s time to reflect on the gardening year and see what can be improved on for 2019 and beyond! Without any doubt the weather has been the dominating factor throughout the seasons.
Think back to December 2017…. Heavy snowfalls mid-month brought much of the country and certainly Oxfordshire to a standstill for several days. Are you prepared for similar this season? Logs and coal stacked for a roaring fire, or fuel burner? More importantly, have you moved vulnerable plants to protected positions, or at least prepared them? Whilst snow doesn’t bring the coldest temperatures the weight of snow on branches can bring them down so you might want to encircle upright conifers with string to stop them losing shape/breaking. Fleece is a must to protect against the cold and a layer of bubble polythene in greenhouses will maintain better temperatures.
I counted 4 snow-falls through the winter but at least each of them came and went in a day or two, unlike the constant rain through March and April!! With the benefit of hindsight, did you regret not harvesting at least some of that water? By the summer I’m sure your garden was as parched as mine! So, if you’re struggling for an unusual Christmas present for the gardener in your life a waterbutt must be the answer! Sorry, no idea how you wrap it! Got one already? Get a second and a link kit so you can double up on the water stored.
The endless summer brought night after night of BBQ suppers but put all plants under huge stress. Bear this in mind when planting in the garden or pots and baskets. A good root system makes a massive difference to a plants ability to survive extreme weather. Good roots always start with good compost so invest in it with every plant you purchase. If you make your own compost then adding water retaining crystals when planting baskets etc really makes a difference.
I’ve said a lot about our feathered friends in the last two months. One last thought… could you get to birdfeeders during the spring monsoon? If, like me, your feeders were on the far-side of a water-logged lawn then probably not! A few stepping stones were the solution and I can now get to the feeders all year round.
Whatever the weather in 2019…. Plan ahead and you’ll enjoy your garden space more than ever!
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