As the garden slows down and the shorter days force us inside we know it’s time to prepare the garden ready for a season of rest and recuperation. 

1.If you haven’t already brought your containers of tender plants inside then now’s the moment to move them into a greenhouse or polytunnel or at least place them in a sheltered part of the garden ideally close to a wall. 

2.Give empty pots a good clean with soapy water to prevent the transfer of any diseases and make sure you bring your favourite terracotta pots inside or wrap them in layers of hessian to prevent them from cracking in the freezing winter temperatures. There is absolutely nothing worse than having a favourite container shatter due to the cold weather. I know some people use bubble wrap as well so if you have some lurking in the back of a cupboard put it to good use and place a layer of hessian on top to keep it looking aesthetic.

3.Protect any tender shrubs from the frosts by mulching around their bases with straw or compost or with any leaf mould you made last year. We used some shredded tree matter this year as it came free and has done the job nicely. Initially I was a bit worried it might alter the pH of the soil but I appear to be wrong on this and it certainly has kept the plants snug and happy!

4. And of course, don’t forget to feed the birds regularly as food sources in winter such as berries are harder to come by. You can use a standard bird feeder and fill it with bird seed or make a simple coconut shell or yoghurt pot lard feeder for birds. They will be very grateful for the food. While your at it make sure your water source is clear of ice so wildlife can drink easily.

5. Finally, on the coldest days I thoroughly recommend grabbing a cup of tea and a seed catalogue and planning for warmer and brighter seasons ahead.