Preparing for winter, thinking of spring

It’s the time of year when we’re battening down the hatches, but putting a few things in place ready to come out the other side of winter with a spring in our step (pardon the pun…).

Yesterday I made a quick visit to the garden centre with my £4 voucher which needed using by 30th November. The pansies, wallflowers and primroses I bought were to divide between our garden and Mum’s, so we’ll have a bit of colour to get us through the darkest months and along with various bulbs, a few things which will pop up in spring and cheer us up. So this morning I have replanted the troughs under the living room window with primroses, pansies and miniature narcissus bulbs – though the bulbs are probably nearing the end of their lives, in all honesty, and despite being carefully stored in our lovely dry shed all year have not fared terribly well. Quite a few had to be thrown away, so next year I’ll have to think about getting some new ones.

I also planted up several pots with tulip bulbs, topped with combinations of pansies and wallflowers, to stand on the patio. Mixed allium bulbs have gone in a few select places in the flower beds but I fully expect to forget they’re there and dig them up by accident in the spring.

I ordered the alliums and got the tulips for free via an offer in a gardening magazine and then split the bulbs with Mum. So this afternoon I’ll go to her house and plant up her new raised beds with bulbs and winter bedding. She has had a new patio built this week, and a new garden gate and fence with much better steps than she had before, and either side of the gate is a little raised bed, so I think they’ll look lovely with wallflowers and primroses.

Meanwhile, planting up the troughs meant evicting the lovely geraniums which have been gorgeous this year. They were all moved into pots and are now in the greenhouse for the winter – I hope they survive. We have some larger pots of geraniums that have just completed their third summer with us, and they’re in the greenhouse now as well. It’s very satisfying to keep them going rather than just getting rid of them and starting again.

There’ll probably be one more session of tidying up, mainly at the front, before the end of the year – a few annuals are still going strong but won’t be for much longer and will need pulling up, and there’s a bit of weeding to do. But there’s a definite sense of winding down, though I am rather proud of the fact that I never really “put the garden to bed” for the winter, as there’s always something flowering or producing colourful berries. Right now one of the mahonias is getting ready to flower and another isn’t far behind; the verbena is still flowering, both of the salvias are still glorious, and before long the hellebores, witch hazel and sarcococca will start to show off. Then there’ll be snowdrops, crocus and daffodils and before we know where we are it’ll be spring again.

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