In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.

Unfortunately, the garden is unsightly and tired now that winter has settled in and the frosty conditions have begun. The leaves on the roses are falling or going yellow and many blooms have balled up in the wet conditions. The Pelargoniums continue to look fantastic, and it won’t be long before Clematis and Daphne are out, but in the meantime, it is only the odd reluctant rose and French lavender in the garden. I anxiously await August and the last frost to make things tidier and prune the roses. Meanwhile, I continue to plot and plan; a worthwhile winter occupation.

Winter is bleak and gloomy, but a necessary pause before the flush of Spring. I read yesterday that a summer garden is made in winter, which is so true. Garden planning is a worthwhile pastime in winter for many reasons. We only have one chance each year to make significant changes and transplant roses to better positions, adjust colour combinations or other promises that will enhance the allure of a spectacular splash from September onwards.

Winter blooms help you forget it’s cold

Despite delivering a lacklustre garden I love winter for the time to enjoy devouring garden books and engaging in planning. Then when the days are sunny, I make haste, as they say, whilst the sun shines. The warmth of the summer sun on one’s back in winter when in the garden is divine.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.

Edith Sitwell

When visitors arrive in winter, there is little to show and be excited about and not everyone is as intrigued as I am in the tips of the bulbs pushing through the (weeds) earth. Or the fact that the roses are dormant enough to clearly decipher their growth habit, shape and size. But, for me winter is a golden opportunity to adjust the layout and alter the landscape without all the foliage present.

An extensive array of pots are crammed into the curtained-off area to protect them from frost; curry leaf plant, kaffir lime, tarragon, variegated geraniums and other species. Although they do not provide an attractive display, it is worth it to protect them from early morning frost and exposure to the elements.

Overly large roses are growing in one garden area that I want to relocate in the coming days, knowing that more rain is predicted. Rain fortuitously arriving after transplanting is the perfect scenario for successful transplanting. Also, adding a seaweed solution will prevent transplant woes and help settle the roots before Spring.

“Just remember, during the winter, far beneath the bitter snow, that there’s a seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes a rose.”

Bette Midler
Rose growing in the local park yesterday

Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. The harvest can either be flowers or weeds.”

William Wordsworth

The Benefits Of Seaweed Extract 

Seaweed for the garden is from macroalgae, the algae you see at the beach at low tide clinging to the rocks and lying on the sand. The algae have been used since prehistoric times in the garden to improve the health of the whole plant, both above and below the ground.

Seaweed provides a readily accessible source of nitrogen when made into a solution that is perfect for roses and the soil. This will enhance health, increase yield, improve resistance to disease and insect damage, increase leaf growth, and improve germination. The Seaweed solution also helps to strengthen the cell walls of plants that reduces the chance of frost damage and helps the plant cope with heat.

The other essential nutrients that a good spray of seaweed solution provides are Phosphorus, which will enhance abundant bloom production and healthy root development and Magnesium, necessary to make chlorophyll the pigment for photosynthesis.

Seaweed spray is an effective soil conditioner that improves the soil’s ability to hold water, and the increase in microbial activity results in better water and air movement through the soil. It also contains natural growth hormones.

Worth noting; the leaves on roses determine the rose’s ability to produce flowers. The healthier the foliage, the more rose blooms.

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour

John Boswell


Now that the landscape is slightly bare, I can undertake a culling to vanish roses or perennials that are not performing ( or I don’t like).
But for now, the garden is wet underfoot, and more rain is predicted for another week. So plenty of time for plotting and planning where the new roses are to be grown and compiling lists of tasks for the coming days.

The risk of frost is reduced when it rains because the temperature rises and there is more cloud cover. The ideal conditions for frost are clear cold nights. Frost is like frozen dew. In freezing temperatures, the natural flow of fluids within the plant cells is disrupted, and the frozen plants are damaged and may die when the cells within the plants burst. This is also intensified by strong sunlight hitting the plants early in the day after a frosty night. The seaweed solution discussed above strengthens the cell walls of plants, so they have a better chance of survival in these freezing temperatures. My job for today is to get out with the eco seaweed, buckets, and watering can. Although on second thought, it may be more advantageous to wait until after the next three days of expected rainfall. The eco seaweed enters the plants via the leaves and will be washed off during rain.

On my agenda also this year, I have decided to grow several climbing roses along a heavy rope or chain across the fence in a festoon style rather than the usual arch or pergola. More on this project later.

All images are the end of season roses JUly 2023 Di Baker

Content Di Baker 2023

Title quote by Henry Rollins

Title Header Image is a rose in the local Park July 2023

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