The rather damp and cold winter weather certainly only manages to draw only the more passionate about gardening outside at this time of year... others preferring the warmth of a nice log fire!! I have to admit as long as it's not tipping it down with rain I'm happy working outside in the cold - particularly on those lovely frosty sunny mornings which we've already seen in Brittany during the last few weeks when temperatures got down as low as -4 degrees!
Earlier this month before the main bout of frosts there was an abundance of late colour in the gardens here - Passion flower at its best and roses too. Passion Flower is a vigourous climber and great for covering over an area of trellis in a sunny position. Be aware though that not all varieties are frost hardy - some are much more tender and require protection at this time of year.
Once your roses have lost their flowers it's a good time to give them a prune before they get damaged by windy winter weather - I tend to prune a bit now and then more in the spring rather than doing it all in one go - I'm aware other people have other schools of thought on this .... so feel free to share your experiences in the comments section! Roses are greedy feeders so a good helping of well rotted down farmyard manure is well recieved at this time of year - placed around the base of the plant - it will also act as a good mulch too.
I try and leave seedheads in the garden as long as possible to allow the birds to benefit - they've loved all the sunflower seeds this year and seem to be eating more than ever from the bird table - perhaps we are in for a really cold winter??
Another good reason is that frosted seedheads help to add interest to your winter garden when nothing much is flowering. Even all those brambles can look attractive when covered in frost! One tip that I've found works wonders when trying to get rid of large areas of brambles before having to dig them up by the roots obviously, is to take some hedge trimmers and cut through the stems as near to the
We've certainly got our fair share here - the garden had been left abandoned for about 9 years before we arrived so it's been a steep learning curve!