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Preparing Your Garden for the Winter Months
by one of our readers

Preparing for winterAfter working on your beloved garden all summer, you may be dreading the thought of how the turbulent cold, season could affect all your beautiful plants. You may have begun tree trimming and preparing a shelter that can be used to house your plants and keep them snug over the coming months.

However, there are some further preparations that you can put in place, in order to batten down the hatches and alleviate the winter's harsh conditions, so as to preserve the life in your outdoor space.

Things to Keep in Mind This Fall

Firstly, don't over-prune the bushes in your garden just yet, especially if they have berries growing on them, as the birds and insects will be relying on them for food. In fact, sometimes it is better to keep your hedges and other shrubbery quite unruly, so that birds and other animals have a place to shelter during the winter months.

Use all the fallen leaves to add a layer of mulch to your flowerbeds; this is perfect for encouraging natural habitats for wildlife and will reduce down, providing nutrients for the soil. If you have any dry plant stems it is a good idea not to be too hasty in banishing these; even though you see little purpose for them, they do actually provide shelter and a nice place to keep warm for many insects and other little bugs for the ensuing cold season.

Protecting Garden Plants

If you want to ensure that your flowers are going to bloom into spring, then think about covering them in a protective wrap to help protect them from freezing to death. Some people recommend burlap as an effective wrap for plants such as the hydrangea. Some gardeners also recommend using a Styrofoam cone, sometimes used for a protective cover for tea roses during the winter. He suggests bedding this in with mulch and pine boughs, thus protecting the stems and buds that will arrive in the spring and produce beautiful flowers.There are other materials that can be used, such as cane stems to keep the material erected, in order for it not to swamp the plants. Late November is the time when gardeners begin to bring in any plants that they know will not survive the winter. If you are a keen gardener it may also help to undertake some reading on the subject over the winter months and developing your knowledge will mean that you are excited and full of new ideas for the coming spring.

Feed the Birds in Your Garden

Painted BuntingFall is here, and in some areas of the U.S.A, the temperatures have already begun to plummet. Many birds will have already begun their migration to a warmer spot where they will set up camp until next spring when they return to this country. However, what about the other birds that do not head to a warmer climate for the winter season? You can make some preparations in your garden to help these little creatures survive the harsh winter months.

Fix up a bird table or birdhouse in your garden. These are relatively simple to make, and can be put together with some old wood that you may have hanging around. It is helpful for the birds to have access to water, but make sure it doesn't freeze over. Food is especially sparse for our feathered friends over the winter months, so help them out by leaving nuts, seeds, suet and crumbs and all sorts of other tit-bits. Think before you chuck things in the garbage. Make sure that your bird tables are high enough so any predatory animals don't find themselves eyeing up your birds as a tasty snack. If you do get into a routine of feeding birds, it's important you don't suddenly stop. Birds can quickly become dependent on food supplies people put out for them and will rely on them being available regularly.

Although your garden is going into hibernation for some time, it pays to be prepared and help foster the life that is thriving behind the scenes in your natural habitat. If you pay attention to the little things now, it will benefit your garden and allow nature to unfold in the most organic way, so you can look forward to a rewarding garden come spring.