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New to gardening - what do I to tidy up for the winter??

(10 Posts)
Artylady14 Tue 08-Dec-15 17:57:19

Hi all, please excuse my impertinent question. I have flower beds in my front garden that I laid this year with rose bushes, geranium rozanne, fuschias and lavender. They are of course looking very sorry for themselves now. I did my regular pruning up to about six weeks ago and cant face gardening, it seems, in bad weather!
What am I supposed to do with the flowers? Do I have to go round deadheading or will they just drop now we have had a first frost (havent so far)? I have deadheaded my roses because their quick and easy but the rest I haven't touched because its always too cold or raining. I do feel guilty though! I trimmed my lavender bushes down a bit too?

Anything I should be doing please let me know? (Do you keep giving them food too?)

K1mberl1 Tue 08-Dec-15 18:03:21

There are no impertinent questions on Mumsnet and gardeners always like to talk smile

If I were you I would go on doing nothing . Unless you have large delicious shrubs that might rock a bit in the wind ( but I guess you don't ) . You want to avoid cutting back now because it will encourage new growth that will just get frosted more easily when we get cold weather .

Don't feed anything until Easter . And you should have stopped feeding in September . It won't do any harm but it's just a waste.

This assumes you are in the UK BTW. Do you want to say what part of the country you are in ?

K1mberl1 Tue 08-Dec-15 18:06:01

I should add that I've had great success with the geraunim Rozanne, mine were still flowering last week !

And it's fine to dead head the roses if it makes you feel better or looks tidier. You prune in the spring and the method depends on the type of roses.

DoreenLethal Tue 08-Dec-15 18:16:06

I agree, don't do anything if you are unsure of what to do.

What are you feeding? If you have decent soil, and these things are in it [as opposed to pots] then you rarely need to feed anyway. The best thing to do is to mulch it with trimmings or compost and let the worms take it down to feed the plants for you.

Artylady14 Tue 08-Dec-15 18:29:32

Thanks for the quick replies. I am in Essex, usual heavy clay soul. Yes I still have some geraniums, wow I didn't realise how quickly they grow and spread in the summer! They were even annoying as they were going over the other flowers. I haven't fed them for a couple of months. My gardener who laid the beds told me to feed them with tomorite every month (geraniums and fuschias), I never feed the lavender and the roses just twice since I got them in May with Rose food. I have little box hedging around them which I was spraying til about September/October with insecticide to prevent the disease that my gardener said came from Asia and is killing box hedges? Do I just leave that too?

In my back garden I have ferns, some Japanese anemones which are finished now and hellebores for the winter. I also have flowering pouches bought for the winter with violas in.

What is mulching with trimmings? A lot of leaves have fallen from oak trees on a green in front of my house and I'm getting sick of clearing them. Is it ok if they are in my flower beds? And if the roses leaves fall should I be clearing them to stop them spreading any possible disease ( friend told me to do this so I was til I got lazy with the winter weather).

Thank you !

florentina1 Tue 08-Dec-15 19:45:43

I am in Essex too. I would leave it alone for now. The seed heads will provide food for all sorts of birds and insects. The decaying debris also provide shelter for bugs. As for clearing up Rose Spot and the like, a few frosts will probably kill that.

Wonderful result. - Do nothing and feel virtuous for helping bugs and birds.

Artylady14 Tue 08-Dec-15 20:43:45

Amazing advice thanks. I was worried about not doing much dud to the weather. So do I put fresh compost down though ?

florentina1 Wed 09-Dec-15 09:10:52

No, you do not want to do any thing that will nourish the soil at this time of year. Because we have mild winters in Essex, this will lead to plants putting on new shoots. The tender growths will then be damaged by rain, frosts and wind.

In Sping , early March, clear away all the debris, cut back quite heavily and allow light and air to circulate around the plants. In April you can add fresh compost if you want to, it depends on the quality of the soil.

Personally I think it is a waste of money to randomly spead compost. If you are doing new plantings, add the compost around the actual plant.

Also be wary over feeding. Clay soil is quite high in nutrients usually.

funnyperson Wed 09-Dec-15 22:19:22

I think deadhead but dont trim or feed
Also, now that the summer plants have gone over, observe and think what winter structure and interest you would like
Oak leaves make good leaf mould

Artylady14 Fri 11-Dec-15 16:01:15

Thanks for all your advice. The garden actually looks so much better now that I have stopped worrying about it!

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