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Get your garden ready for winter

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As autumn cloaks the garden, the bright hues of summer have all but faded and the first frosts are turning seed heads to shimmering silver. It’s time to give your plot a bit of TLC to see it through till spring.

Start cutting back

Remove any annuals and cut back herbaceous perennials if they’re starting to look untidy. Mulch with last year’s leaf mould or compost to give a little ground cover during the long winter months. Leave architectural plants like fennel and eryngium as they provide sculptural interest in otherwise barren borders.

Plan for spring colour

It’s not too late to plant bulbs for a burst of colour in the spring. Early flowering varieties such as snowdrops and crocuses make a delightful floral carpet under trees and in lawns and will quickly naturalise. Tulips are a must-have and come in an amazing range of colours and shapes. Sarah Raven has some of the most unusual varieties for long-lasting display.

Pond dipping

Ponds quickly get clogged with leaves at this time of year, so it’s a good idea to net the top till your trees are bare. Split any overly exuberant pond plants, like water mint, and if you have fish be sure to float a plastic ball on the surface of the water to prevent an ice sheet forming in the depths of winter.

Treat them tenderly

Forecasters are already predicting a colder-than-average winter so remember to overwinter any tender plants – such as agave and aloe – in the greenhouse or conservatory. Plants and shrubs that don’t like to get too cold or wet – agapanthus and palms, for instance – can be covered with horticultural fleece for extra protection in situ.

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