Winter lawn care: Plant expert on why to ‘avoid’ walking on grass during frosty weather

Alan Titchmarsh explains how to repair and protect your lawn

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The winter can traditionally be a less exciting time of year for your garden. The spring and summer months are usually famed as being the time where your garden begins to bloom and look its best. However, British gardeners can brighten up their gardens at this time of year, if they plan and choose their plants carefully.

Managing Director of Hopes Grove Nurseries in Kent, Morris Hankinson, has shared his plant tips exclusively with for winter gardens.

Hopes Grove Nurseries was established 27-years-ago and grows approximately one million hedge plants in 50 acres of land in Tenterden.

The nurseries regularly supplies plants for ITV’s Love Your Garden which features Alan Titchmarsh and David Domoney.

Morris said “believe it or not”, it’s a “fabulous” time to be planting things in the garden.

He said: “There’s nothing really for sale that isn’t hardy so as far as planting things, it’s still a very good time of year because although the days are short and it is getting colder, the soil is still warm.”

However, Morris said there is one thing Britons should avoid doing when tending to their gardens in the winter.

He explained: “The only thing to avoid at this time of year, if we do get a decent frost, is walking around on your lawn.

“If you go walking around on your lawn, you’re going to potentially leave little yellow patches in your foot prints because you will be treading down the frozen grass and breaking the structure.”

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Morris also said Britons can “keep an eye” on any plants that are not as robust.

He said: “It’s still not a bad time to keep an eye on any non-hardy things in the garden or in the ground.

“Salvias and dahlias and things like that.

“It’s not too late to be protecting them. The weather has been quite kind so far.”

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If you’re looking to cheer up your garden during the shorter winter days, Morris has shared his top plant tips for planting out in the winter months.

Britons’ gardens can look a little “tired and unloved” during the winter months, but Morris has reassured gardeners that this doesn’t have to be the case.

He said if you plan and carefully choose plants, it can be possible to have colourful flowers and foliage from now through to spring when your bulbs will start to bloom.

Go for structure

Morris recommended mixing in some Topiary pieces like Buxus (Box), Yew or even Japanese Holly.

He said many other plants fade in Autumn they will give height and structure and act as a foil for colourful Winter plants.

He added: “Other great foliage structure plants for winter include Fatsia shrubs and if you have a sheltered spot, Cordylines shrubs can bring a tropical feel to your winter display.”

Evergreen Shrubs

Morris suggested evergreen shrubs that give both colour and height throughout the year.

Morris said to go for ones with colourful berries or fruits such as Pyracantha or female varieties of Holly or the Strawberry Tree, Arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’.

He added: “Many evergreens have colourful foliage so even if they don’t produce significant flowers or berries, they will still give a vibrant show.”

Morris recommended:

Elaeagnus Maryline

Euonymus Eldorado or Euonymus Francien

Griselinia littoralis Variegata


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