Give borders a boost now

A bit of winter tidying up will help you get ahead for spring

Keep borders in order

by Martin Fish |

Before winter really sets in, it’s a good idea to get out in the garden and start working in the borders.

This not only makes the garden look better, some plants will benefit from a little attention now and it also helps you get ahead for next spring, when there are a thousand and one jobs to do in the garden all at once!

It’s good to start tidying the borders while the ground conditions are still good, rather than when soggy or frozen.

Now that the autumn leaf drop is over for another year, it’s a good opportunity to go through the border and clear away thick layers of leaves that could smother small or low-growing perennials.

If the leaves are left on these plants over winter they’ll rot, causing harm to the plants below.

Start cutting back some old perennial flower stems.

Any that have decorative seed heads can be left for winter interest, but where stems are already starting to collapse they can be cut back to ground level.

Dead foliage on evergreen perennials such as bergenia can be picked off to freshen up the plants and generally work through the border tidying, trimming and removing weeds.

Step by step

  1. Clear away the last of the autumn leaves that are covering low-growing perennials to allow the light to them.
  1. Dead stems and growth that’s already starting to die down can be cut back, but leave decorative seed heads.
  1. Tidy through evergreen perennials such as bergenia to remove the dead foliage from around the base of the plants.
  1. Where the soil is bare or compacted, lightly fork it over to remove any weeds and help with winter drainage.
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