Written By Christina Levyna on Saturday, September 29, 2012 | 11:49 PM

With the summer months receding into distant memory, now could be the time for the smart gardener to show her thoughts to the harsher winter months and prepare her garden consequently. Forethought and action currently will facilitate your prized plot emerge from the wintry depths during a higher condition than would well be the case.

Lawns
A field will create or break the planning of a garden, and correct pre-winter care is important if it's to be at its best throughout the forthcoming year. In late time of year, provides it its final mowing, ensuring that the garden tool is ready to its most cutting height. Also, keep raking off any leaves and rubble that fall onto it from encompassing trees in order that they don´t shade the grass, thereby excluding air, encouraging illness and inhibiting growth. now could be conjointly the time to scarify the field with a spring-tined rake to get rid of dead grass, nonvascular plant and different detritus, all obstacles to a healthy field. Then, the field ought to be aerated with a garden fork or a rotary setup. This alleviates the soil compaction that has occurred throughout the year. The field can most likely have sustained some harm once the wear and tear and tear of the summer, therefore sow seed on any clean patches that have emerged, and observe the other repairs to edges and then on. Finally, a top-dressing ought to be applied to feed the grass and promote growth.

Flowerbeds and borders
In the flowerbeds, all the annuals, which will be dead or dying but certainly well past their best, should be dug up and put on the compost heap, while perennials should be cut back and, if required, divided to give more plants, which should then be planted in situ, or overwintered in a greenhouse. If you have any shrubs that you want to move, do it now, as it allows them time to get firmly anchored before the growing season. However, be sure to stake them, as they may need extra support while settling in. Soil loses a lot of nutrients during the summer, so dig in compost or fertilizer ahead of the next growing period. Roses should be dead-headed and cut back, so long as they are not winter-flowering, and trees and shrubs should be inspected for damage and disease, which can then be cut out. Any plants that have spent the summer outside in pots should now be returned to the confines of the house or the greenhouse before the first frosts.
Ponds
If you have a pond, cover it with some netting, which will prevent leaves etc. falling in and polluting the water. A good idea, if you have fish, is to float a small ball on the surface, so should it freeze over, you only have to lift the ball up to provide a ready-made hole for to allow the fish to breathe.
Building maintenance
Inspect walls and any other garden buildings, such as greenhouses and sheds, for wear and tear. Any weaknesses should be attended to before the inclement weather makes them worse and more costly to repair.
Garden furniture
If possible, garden furniture should be stored away somewhere safe and dry. However, if that is not possible, ensure that it is protected with weather-proof covers. And don´t forget that winter winds can be particularly harsh, so be sure that everything is weighted or tied down.
Tools
Finally, when all the jobs have been completed, it's time to turn your attention to your tools. They work hard and deserve to be treated with care, so clean and oil them well, and let them enjoy a well-deserved winter's rest in a nice, dry shed or garage.

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