Robin on snow

Robin by Frank Vassen

The days are getting shorter, but there’s no need to give up on your garden just yet. Here are a few simple tasks to get it spruced up for winter from our green-fingered ambassador Tamsin Westhorpe.

With a teeny bit of work, you can make the most of the season’s fresh air and rich colours.

There’s still a lot you can do as the weather turns according to Tamsin Westhorpe, garden writer and lecturer.

So pull on your fleeces, get your hands dirty and cross these jobs off your checklist.

British Red Cross Open Gardens ambassador Tamsin Westhorpe in her garden

Tamsin Westhorpe

1. Get pruning

Remove dead, damaged and diseased stems from trees and shrubs. Use sharp cutting tools to give a clean cut. Don’t be tempted to cut thick branches with your precious secateurs – turn to a pruning saw instead.

2. Look after your pond

If you’re lucky enough to have a pond, lift any fallen leaves and weeds. Always leave any debris by the side for 24 hours, to allow the pond life to make its way back to the water.

Frog in a garden pond

Frog by Andy Roberts

3. Cut herbaceous borders

Although you can leave it until spring, now’s a good time to hack back herbaceous borders. Most hardy perennials can be cut right down to the ground.

4. Remove the weeds

Although not the most thrilling task, it’s worth taking the time to remove perennial weeds from the borders.

5. Edge lawns

Now’s a good time to sharpen up your lawn edges, so use a half moon and plumb line to create a straight edge.

6. Order and sow some seeds

A wet or cold day is perfect for spending a few hours drooling over the seed catalogues and ordering for next spring’s sowing. And if you have a heated propagator, you can sow some sweet peas now.

7. Sort out your tools

Garden tools

Have a go at sorting the shed out. Give it a tidy, then mend and sharpen the garden tools. Next year, get into the practice of wiping down cutting tools with an oily rag after you’ve used them.

8. Plan ahead

Now you can see the bare bones of the garden, it’s a sensible time to plan for any new structures and features.

Orchard from Open Gardens 2011.

Credit: Stephen Kennedy

9. Buy bare-root hedging and fruit plants

If you can’t plant them in their final home, just heel them in as soon as they arrive.

10. Chit potatoes

Come February, the winter will be almost over – but there will be just enough time to chit some potatoes before gardening gets busy and hectic again. Place your seed potatoes in egg boxes, with the majority of the eyes facing upward. Simply place in a cool, light and frost-free place until the green shoots form.

11. Stick on the kettle

After all that work, it must be time to warm up with a cup of tea and feel very smug for braving the elements. Doesn’t your garden look great for it, though?