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Preparing your garden for the winter

For the enthusiastic gardener, having spent a long, busy summer out in your garden, the approach of winter can seem like a bit of an anti-climax. However, as the nights draw in, and the temperature drops, there are some vital tasks that will see your garden through the cold season and help it burst back into life come the spring.
Leaf control
Rake up all those leaves that have fallen onto your lawn over the autumn. Although your garden will probably see less foot traffic in the winter months, rotting leaves can still create a trip hazard. You can also collect all the leaves into a secluded spot and turn them into leaf mould. Once the leaves have broken down they make a perfect mulch for spreading on your borders.
Lawn and order
Once your lawn is free from all those leaves and other debris, use your rake to poke holes across the lawn, to improve drainage and help the roots get a bit of air. After that, a sandy top dressing brushed over the surface will stop the holes from closing up again.
Give your garden furniture a treat
Come December and January you are much less likely to be sitting out in the garden, so take the opportunity to treat your garden furniture to a bit of weatherproofing preservative. If possible, now is the time to store your furniture undercover.
Look after the wildlife
You might not be using the garden as much, but someone, or rather something, will. Leave out and replenish your feeders and birdbaths for any winter visitors. If you have a pond, be sure to break any ice that forms to provide another handy source of water for birds. Also, leaving a few herbaceous perennials can provide a much needed winter home for insects

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