Rain rain go away...

What a miserable week - I have not only been caught out in the rain but I have managed to destroy the inside of my car by traipsing clumps of mud from walking over grassland during my various travels.

I was a little embarrassed when I had a footprints follow me around the supermarket in the week. (Note to self - I must clean my boots nightly for the time being or just refrain from walking through muddy patches).

My aim for last weekend was to get out in the garden and have a little tidy up in preparation for spring planting. My Saturday ended up being very busy and by the time I got home it was too dark and cold to venture outdoors. Sunday was consumed with rather large downpours combined with grey, dull and miserable skies. Another day missed in the garden and a day gained in the kitchen, baking a rather rich and calorific fudge cake.

I was hoping to have better fortune this weekend but at this rate, it looks as though it'll be a similar outcome (minus the cake I hope - this does not bode well for the diet).

As the week has progressed, it has got me thinking about the protection of our plants from winter damage. Cold, wet and windy weather can cause significant detriment to our trees, shrubs, plants and even our structural aids such as trellis and canes.

What must we be doing during this time to help?

Mulch - Heavy rain will not only cause plants to have a soggy bottom but it can erode soil from the source, exposing vulnerable parts of your plant. Most plants will suffer from waterlogged soil as it will rot and kill the root. A dry mulch consisting of straw, compost or chipped bark will reduce compaction and soil erosion, leaving your plants in a much more comfortable state.



Shelter - Most gardens will have safe zones where plants can take a break from adverse weather conditions. This is especially effective for container plants that can be grouped together for extra protection and/or transplanted to a warmer south-facing wall, under canopies or ledges and even in greenhouses and conservatories.


Structures - It is always handy to provide a mid-winter check up on all structures, ensuring they are still doing the job they were employed to do. Replace any loose panels or posts to further protect your plants alongside keeping the garden looking neat and tidy. Replace broken canes and ensure remaining supports are still secure in place so that plants are growing to the desired form.


Drainage - If your soil is susceptible to compacting and retaining water, you may need to add sand, grit and plenty of organic matter. Mix this in thoroughly to your soil and this will help it to break down into smaller clumps, helping the drainage of areas that are prone to becoming waterlogged.



***

Fingers are tightly crossed this week - I am desperate to have a tidy up outside between my emerging bulbs and shrubs (How exciting!!). I need to also keep my beady eye on plants that may have encountered some damage during the adverse weather.

Have you managed to get out and about in the garden this week? Let me know what you have been up to!

becky@hayloftplants.co.uk 



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