END-OF-YEAR PLANNING – By Alia Babapulle…

Thank you for being with me on this journey through the gardening year. I hope you have enjoyed reading my articles as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Of course, now that we are in the autumn-winter seasons, we still have to think about our plants. This is the time to stand back and take a good hard look at the garden. Are you satisfied with how it looks? Are some plants doing better in one spot than in another place? Anything overgrown? Well, now is the time to take care of all that.

Dig out anything that looks old. When you cut a twig from the plant, if it is brown and woody, off it goes, as the plant won’t come back properly. Make room for new ones. Thin out really thick bushes and plant boxes, if something has become really large, maybe transferring it into a bigger pot with good mulch and fertiliser will be a good idea. Splitting the plant carefully before replanting will also encourage regrowth and you will have the benefit of even sturdier plants in the new season.

If you have a large garden, rake any leaves and spread them out under trees and large bushes to mulch down. When it rains, dig them a bit to break up the leaves so they decompose faster. I dig fallen leaves in pots into the soil, spread good fertiliser over that and dig a bit more. I never have to do anything more during the winter months until spring comes along. Pots should be checked carefully; anything looking remotely nasty has to come out. Wilted plants and odd colours all need a careful going over. In general, Mediterranean plants prefer good drainage. In winter it tends to be wet, with waterlogged soil that often leads to their downfall, so try to move plants around if you see they are getting sodden.

I have spread cut palm tree leaves over those plants I can’t move out of the rain. You will be surprised how effective this is in keeping them relatively dry. Be prepared to experiment, as many plants can surprise you with their toughness. As I have said many times before, don’t be afraid to move plants around if they don’t thrive where you first plant them. Look and learn from your plants – gardening is a lifelong process.

Always look for indigenous plants, especially those which attract bees, our best friend. There is a lot to do in winter to make sure our bursts of colour will be fresh and beautiful in the spring. It’s a lot of common sense mixed with know-how.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with me. All the best… I look forward to seeing you again in 2020. Where has this year gone!

Alia Babapulle – Interior and Exterior Designer Tel. (+34) 616 670 975 · aliabdesigns@live.co.uk

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