Many of us have had to brace ourselves this week, and if it’s a sign of what’s to come, we are in for a nasty, bitterly cold winter. And as the weather alerts came through this week, it was a rush to batten down the hatches against the forecasted barrage of wind and rain. Unfortunately, I didn’t rush quick enough, and halfway through an episode of Grand Designs, we heard a crash outside as the parasol took to flying across the garden, luckily for us, not smashing into a million pieces!
So in an effort to prepare for the looming winter, my next two blogs will focus on preparing your garden and preparing your plants to see us through to spring.
Regarding your garden, the main area to look at, is preparing furniture in the best possible way. The key step here is to clean and dry down all the chairs, tables, parasols, planters, pots etc, to remove dead leaves and dirt to help try to prevent mildew building up during the winter. I usually mix equal measures white vinegar with warm water and take a stiff brush to brush down our hardwood furniture but from all accounts both vinegar or bread soda can be used for plastic, wrought iron and wicker basket materials. Just make sure that the brush doesn’t mark your furniture, so I would advise testing in an inconspicuous area first. Rinse down the furniture with clean water (perhaps a use for your collected and filtered rain water!! ) , and once satisfied the stains and dirt are gone, and the furniture is dry, then you’re ready to pack up the furniture by either placing in a shed or using a version of the many furniture covers on sale in all large garden centres and DIY stores.
Other key areas to check before the weather gets too poor, is to check gutters, gulley’s and drains for leaves, branches and stones. Gradually collecting and composting leaves as they fall, will also help prevent flooding, help to prevent dragging dirt through your house as well as avoiding a generally untidy looking garden.
Other items that are normally forgotten about are children’s furniture, so be sure to collect the many items of strewn toys and clean and put away sandboxes, checking that larger items such as play-gyms, swings and slides are bolted tightly together, and once cleaned down, it would also be wise to give exposed wooden items a lick of a protective oil or stain.
All of these chores might seem like unnecessary tasks, but a half day preparing now will go a long way towards an easier task in the spring time, reclaiming our outdoor living once the temperatures allow us. I know now what I will be doing this weekend!
If any of you have any tips or hints, we would be delighted to hear from you, so feel free to let us know!! You can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to hearing from you!