Winter can be a period when gardeners not only take stock, but also use this slightly quieter time to prepare themselves and their gardens for the busier months to come. During the winter at West Dean, we take the opportunity to service all of our equipment and ensure that it is in the best possible working condition for the growing season ahead.
I would thoroughly recommend looking into having your lawnmower serviced at this time of year. Doing this annually would reduce the risk of it breaking down when it’s most needed. By contacting your local servicing provider before Christmas, you will avoid the incredibly busy time of February and March, when the majority of people wake up to the realisation that their grass will need to be cut soon and waiting times are far longer.
Get that call in now so the turnaround can be much quicker, resulting in your lawnmower being ready to go as soon as spring begins to gather momentum and fresh green shoots start to appear. While having that conversation about your lawnmower, enquire about your strimmers and hedge cutters too.
Other tasks that can be addressed at this time of year include the state of your wheelbarrow – check the tyres and oil any mechanisms to prolong the life of your trusted garden companion.
The autumnal colours are one of the greatest spectacles in nature, but fallen leaves can very quickly block drains and gutters, causing localised flooding in our gardens, which can often be detrimental to our plants, as well as our properties. Check all your drains, gutters and downpipes to clear any clogged areas and ensure that water can transition through your garden as quickly as possible. With rainwater, we tend to have a lot of it when we don’t need it.
One way to get around that issue and provide for drier months is to consider rainwater harvesting. Capturing water in its most straightforward form will involve water butts attached to the downpipes of buildings or green houses. Recently I’ve been very taken with the idea of using a recycled, galvanised water tank to collect rainwater, which also provides a great resource for wildlife as the rivets that hold it together act as a small ladder to enable some wildlife to climb in and out.
Finally, think about your pathways and paving as algae build-up can cause these surfaces to become very slippery. Warm, soapy water and a stiff brush will help to dislodge any grime and make those areas far safer over the coming months. You may have to repeat this a few times during the winter to ensure a safe pathway.