Winter gardening tips: from our garden to yours

Snowdrops at Stourhead, Wiltshire

Gardening and growing spaces are still places of creativity, nature and new growth during the winter months.

There are plenty of jobs to get stuck into, whether that's looking after wildlife, harvesting vegetables, pruning rose bushes or planning ahead for warmer days.

Our gardeners are sharing their top tips and a winter flower spotter's guide to help you enjoy nature through the season.

During the winter months, many plants are dormant, meaning there's less weeding and watering to do. If you're still looking for jobs to do then there are normally always fences to repair, wildlife shelters to build and compost bins to maintain. Or if the weather is really bad outside you can stay indoors and plant some microgreens and start planning your garden for spring. 

Winter gardening jobs

What's in season?

Spotting winter flowers

Snowdrops

Places to see snowdrops 

Seeing a swathe of snowdrops is a great way to brighten up your day. Find the best places to spot these delicate flowers and create your own snowy display at home with the help of some top tips from our gardeners.

Preparing for spring

As days get longer and soil temperatures begin to rise, it’s time to prepare for the growing season ahead. If you’re starting out with a new garden or allotment, time spent planning and designing will pay dividends later when it comes to laying out and planting. Start by planning paths and physical features, then trees, shrubs and plants.

Remember to allow space for composting, water collection, storage and wildlife havens. Once you’ve decided on the layout, it’s time to think about plants. It’s important to think about both spatial and seasonal planning. For example, a vegetable plot needs to spread the workload and give a continuous supply of produce whereas an ornamental garden should provide interest throughout the seasons.  

There are lots of books and information sources online to help you draw up a list of plants that meet your garden's conditions and design requirements. These guides also help source the chosen species and cultivars. It’s useful to produce a simple diary so that plants can be ordered and sown in good time. This planned approach is better than impulsive window shopping for whatever is looking good at the time at garden centres, particularly for plants that flower later in the year. Remember also to buy peat-free plants and growing soil to protect precious peatland landscapes.

For established gardens, it’s often best to propagate plants from existing ones. If you didn’t get around to lifting and dividing perennials in the autumn, late winter is also a suitable time to do this. It’s an effective and cost-free way to help fill your borders with plants. By swapping cuttings with your neighbours, you can also bring in new varieties and connect with fellow gardeners. 

Birds are also getting restless in anticipation of spring, and many species start looking for nesting sites from March onwards. Now’s the time to put out new boxes for both solitary and communal nesters such as house sparrows.