As soon as the clocks go back signifying the end of British summertime, you can guarantee two things: shorter days and colder weather.

Sadly, neither one of those seasonal traits lend themselves well to gardening and, while the former can be depressing, the latter can have a particularly damning effect on the green, green grass of home – specifically your home.

Ensure your green fingers don’t come down with frostbite this winter by implementing these fool-proof tips into your garden defence.

 

protect your garden in winter

 

Bring Out Your Dead

Wintertime is the perfect opportunity to give your garden a spring clean. Or should that be a winter clean… either way, you get the idea.

Dead plants, weeds and leaves can carry disease and fungus that can prove damaging to other healthy plants nearby. This is particularly applicable to spent annuals and vegetable plants.

Meanwhile, pests can also thrive amongst dead, rotting vegetation, which too can cause subsequent damage to your garden.

Removing any plants that have past their expiration date should remove the problem and any possibility of springtime issues down the line.

 

Get the Drinks In

If a drop in temperature is predicted in advance, pre-empting the big freeze and watering your plants ahead of time can pay dividends once the cold spell hits.

Sub-zero temperatures can cause the ground to freeze, preventing water from permeating the surface and ultimately reaching the roots.

Getting ahead of the curve allows your plants to soak up the moisture while it still can, which can be particularly helpful when it comes to annuals and potted plants.

Speaking of potted plants…

 

All Gone to Pot

Terracotta plant pots can make for an aesthetically pleasing addition to your garden. Unfortunately, terracotta isn’t invincible and this is never more evident than during the wintertime.

To prevent your pots from cracking by gathering them up and placing them together, ideally in an unexposed area of the garden that’s sheltered from the elements, such as near the house.

For an additional layer of protection, you can even go one step further and wrap them up with hessian or horticultural fleece for enhanced insulation.

The combination of swaddling your plant pots with heat retentive materials and grouping them together in a huddled formation should help ensure they survive the winter unscathed.

 

Mulch Ado About Nothing

As noted above, the harsh winter conditions can make the surface hard and difficult for water to permeate. To counteract this inevitability, mulching over the autumn/winter can help the soil to retain water and regulate temperature, protecting your plants in the process.

What’s more, adding mulch to your flowerbeds will help keep root temperatures stable, preventing churning and heaving, while it can also inhibit weed growth. Meanwhile, as the mulch breaks down, it naturally deposits additional organic nutrients into the soil.

 

 

For more tips on autumn and winter garden protection, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0800 111 4958 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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For animal lovers, pets aren’t just an interesting addition to the home, they can often become a cherished part of the family. As such, taking care of your pet can be just as important as looking after a loved one.

If you’re a pet owner, it’s important to know the “dos and don’ts” of animal care. From a gardening perspective, this includes knowing which plants are safe for pets and what ones pose a danger.

Luckily, our team and Lawn & Weed Expert are here to help. We’ve created a handy list to help you differentiate between the cat’s meow and the dog’s b… the dog’s bark.

 what plants are safe for pets

Safe plants for cats and dogs

Undoubtedly two of the most popular pets in the UK, cats and dogs are a common sight in homes across the UK. In fact, according to We-Love-Pets.co.uk, out of the 12 million UK households that have pets, roughly 41% of those include a feline friend or canine compadre.

That figure equates to almost 5 million homes, more than the entire population of both Wales and the Republic of Ireland respectively – that’s a whole lot of Pedigree and Whiskas!

If you happen to be one of those lucky homes, keeping Fido and Felix footloose and fancy-free will be a high priority and picking the right plants for your home and garden can be surprisingly important.

Here’s a short list of popular plants generally considered safe for most cats and dogs:

  • Hibiscus
  • Basil
  • Spider plant
  • Boston Fern
  • Swedish Ivy

 

Safe plants for rabbits and rodents

If you prefer your domestic animals to be a little furrier and compact, this section may be of interest to you. From rabbits and guinea pigs to hamsters and gerbils, these fluffy companions can make a great pet for those thinking outside the cat/dog box.

The downside of these pets (particularly for garden aficionados) is that rabbits and rodents do have a tendency to pick on plants and lunch on leaves. As such, knowing the plants in your home and garden are animal-safe is vitally important.

Popular common plants safe for most rabbits and rodents include:

  • Jade plant
  • Basil
  • Wheat grass
  • Orchids
  • Marigolds

 

Safe plants for reptiles and lizards

If you own a reptile or amphibian, chances are that you also own the relevant equipment to house it (i.e. a vivarium).

As your pet will spend most of its time confined to these four walls, incorporating a plant or two can be a welcome addition, while also making for stylish and eye-catching decor.

But not all plants are an appropriate addition to your reptilian real estate and some can be outright dangerous. The following are popular plants generally deemed safe for reptiles and lizards:

  • Ficus
  • Hibiscus
  • Pothos
  • Philodendron
  • Spider Plant

 

Safe plants for birds

Outside of the furry, fluffy and scaly, birds are another popular choice of pet for many Brits across the nation. Much like their land-loving brethren, these feathered-friends are also at risk from the dangers of the plant world.

Some popular plants that are considered safe for most types of birds include:

  • Dandelion
  • Marigold
  • Boston Fern
  • Magnolia
  • Swedish Ivy

 

Plants that aren’t safe for pets

While the above focuses on plants that ARE safe for pets, the list of poisonous plants for pets is long and wide-ranging, confusing and, at times, frustrating too. What’s great for humans and perfectly healthy can catastrophic for our furry friends.

Take aloe vera, for example: great for the skin, rich in antioxidants and a go-to for detoxing, it’s a much-loved plant that can do no wrong, as far as human consumption goes. However, for animals – particularly cats and dogs – the aloe vera plant itself can be toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

To play it safe, your best bet is to only introduce plants into your home and garden that you know are safe for your pets. A simple internet search can help identify whether or not your plant of choice is fit for your pet-friendly home, so be sure to double-check before you bring any new shrub into your house or garden.

 

Are your plants safe for pets?

While the above list is very much a rough guide on which plants are safe for pets, it’s important to remember that plants can come in many forms with a range of variations. This list is merely a base guide to give you an idea and is far from complete.

If there is a particular species of plant you are eying up for your home, it's wise to do your homework. Don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper and find out whether or not your dream shrub is pet-friendly. You could be in luck and be able to kill two birds with one stone… okay, bad choice of words, but you get the idea!

If you’re still unsure about the plants in your home and garden, why not come see us or drop us a line? Our team of experts can even provide you with a free survey and help treat your lawn to ensure it's risk-free and pet-safe.

Get in touch today!