Leave self-seeding flowers over the winter. Not only do the maturing seeds look extremely lovely, in winter they are also a source of food for songbirds. Sunflowers (Helianthus), strawflowers (Helichrysum), nasturtiums (Tropaeolum), royal mallows (Lavatera) and marigolds (Calendula) are all suitable for birds, for example.
If the plants do not have a cover of snow, they are at risk from severe frost. Biennial flowers, freshly planted shrubs and other frost-sensitive plants are better able to withstand severe frost if they are covered with pine branches.
In winter, climbers on a trellis in front of the house provide a winter shelter for many animals. Both beneficial insects as well as birds like to use these protected spaces but bats also find a place to hibernate here.
Columnar conifers can permanently lose their ornamental value or even break if heavy layers of snow push them apart. So, here’s a tip: tie the trees and shrubs together and always remove layers of snow in good time!
Completely empty flat-lying waterlines and pipes before severe frosts arrive. If water remains in the pipes, there is a danger that they will burst during heavy frosts.
Shallow ponds whose water depth is less than 80 cm can freeze right through in winter and are therefore unsuitable for overwintering fish and frost-sensitive aquatic plants such as water lilies. Waterlilies should therefore be planted in baskets in shallow ponds so that they can be brought out in autumn and stored in a frost-free and damp place in winter. Do not cut back bulrushes and reeds in autumn. They ensure that the layer of ice on the water does not close completely. Plus, they allow fermentation gases to escape in this way. If no bulrushes or reeds have been planted in the pond, the effect can also be achieved with a 30-cm-long bundle of straw set upright into the pond. It should be well secured so that it does not fall over.
Store pesticides* properly, even in winter. They must be kept out of the reach of children in a place that is frost-free. The pesticides may deteriorate if stored at low temperatures and become unusable.
Seed collected in autumn needs to be properly stored to ensure it retains its germination properties. Protect from moisture and store in a cool room if possible.
An insect hotel offers fascinating insights into the behaviour of beneficial insects all year round. It also attracts many beneficial garden helpers to stay, as many of the potential residents have pests on their menu.
Now is the time that deer and rabbit cause damage to ornamental shrubs and bulbs by feeding on the bark, buds and shoots. Protect vulnerable plants from gnawing and browsing from game by using a repellent in good time. Ask at your garden centre for a suitable product.