Notes From The Garden Path


Winter Gardening Jobs - nine steps to get your garden ready for winter


As we move into the winter months, it's crucial to prepare your garden for the damp, cold, and frosty conditions. Winterizing your garden is essential to safeguard your plants, structures, and garden tools from the harsh elements. It can feel quite a job, but like most things in the garden, if you break it down into subjects you can just chip away at the list of tasks as and when you have a moment. Here are nine steps on how to winterize your garden to get you started on your list.

Step 1: Clean Up and Clear Out

Before the frost really hits hard, it's essential to tidy up your garden. Start by removing dead annuals, fallen leaves, and other garden debris. Pruning overgrown branches and cutting back perennial plants that are finished blooming will help prevent disease and promote healthy growth next season.

Step 2: Protect Your Perennials

Perennials need special care during winter. Mulch your perennial beds and pots with a layer of organic matter, such as garden compost, straw or shredded leaves, to insulate the soil and protect plants' roots from extreme cold. This helps maintain a consistent temperature and prevents frost heave.

Step 3: Winter Mulching

For large gardens, winter mulching is crucial, I use home-made garden compost, but you can of course buy compost or use wood chippings or leaf mulch.  I run my leaves through the shredder and use them to insulate plants in pots. A layer of mulch, about 2-4 inches thick, insulates the soil and prevents it from rapidly freezing and thawing, which can harm plant roots. In the spring, this mulch can be mixed into the soil to improve its quality.

Step 4: Wrapping Shrubs and Trees

Consider wrapping the trunks of young or delicate trees with burlap to protect them from harsh winter winds and temperature fluctuations. Shrubs can also benefit from burlap screens or wraps to shield them from snow and ice. A roll of garden fleece is a good investment. Use this to cover any vulnerable shrubs or potted perennials.

Step 5: Clean and Store Garden Tools

Don't forget your garden tools. Clean and thoroughly dry all your gardening tools, then apply a light coat of oil to prevent rust. Store them in a dry, sheltered location like a shed or garage.

Step 6: Drain Irrigation Systems

To prevent water from freezing in your irrigation system and causing damage, be sure to properly drain it. If you're unsure how to do this, consult a professional to help you winterize your irrigation system. Don’t forget to wind up hoses and put away attachments, they never survive well being left outside.

Step 7: Protect Garden Structures

For large gardens, you may have structures like gazebos, trellises, and garden furniture. Clean and store these items, or invest in covers to protect them from winter weather. Consider inspecting and repairing any structural elements to ensure they withstand the season.

Step 8: Pest Control

Large gardens can be home to various pests. Inspect your garden for any signs of pest infestations. Remove any dead or decaying plant material, as it can harbor pests and diseases. Consider using horticultural oil or dormant oil spray to protect your plants from overwintering insects.

Step 9: Winter Interest Plants

Add some winter interest to your garden by planting species that look their best in the colder months, such as evergreen shrubs, ornamental grasses, and trees with striking bark or unique shapes.


Winterizing your large garden is a necessary step to ensure the health and vitality of your garden come spring. By cleaning up, insulating plants, protecting garden structures, and performing essential maintenance, you'll be well-prepared for the challenges of a Northern Hemisphere winter. With a little effort, your garden can remain a beautiful oasis even in the coldest months, ready to burst with life when the warm weather returns.



The Team @ Grand Garden Life

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