In Bloom: Taking stock of the year’s ups and downs

A volunteer helps out at Todmorden in Bloom's autumn garden clean-up
A volunteer helps out at Todmorden in Bloom's autumn garden clean-up

Once the dormant season is truly upon us gardeners, we need to take stock of the year’s successes and failures, and to get on with plan or wish lists for 2014.

It’s also time to enjoy displays of evergreens, winter flowers and attractive barks. Look around to note your favourite winter interest, textures or architectural shapes in local parks and gardens.

The weather may be grim at this time of the year, but there are still plenty of jobs you can do outside.

Do try to rake up fallen leaves which badly affect lawns, multiply your insect population, clog essential drains and look a right mess!

Nothing sets a garden or yard off better than clean and neat pathways, especially if you get busy whilst the sun is shining!

Relocate any tender species in pots to protect from strong winds or potential frost/snow damage. Ensure containers are raised on pot feet or bricks to aid drainage through the winter months and group them together to help limit damage. Mulch any tender ground species.

Once we would have cut all perennials down, but nowadays the prevailing practice is to leave them looking amazing on frosty mornings and it is wildlife friendly.

Cleaning pots is one of those jobs we tend to put off, until it comes to sowing time.

Scrub pots with a stiff brush in warm water and detergent, ensure rinsing before use.

Winter is a particularly tough time for birds as food is scarce and water may be frozen.

You don’t have to buy special bird food as starlings love peanuts, and thrushes and blackbirds like over-ripe apples and raisins.

If you are buying special food, consider buying fat balls as they are high in energy.

Just remember if you help these birds, they will return their gratitude by eating up your slugs and snails!

Todmorden in Bloom members recently planted up more than 900 tulip and 900 daffodil bulbs, with 1,700 crocus bulbs and nearly 1,200 viola plants. 

Our warmest thanks to MGCaravans for shelter on rainy days and our menfolk who placed the heavy containers into our barrier baskets around Todmorden.

Todmorden in Bloom will always welcome more helpers, even during the “planning” winter months or stalls at social events.

For more information, please phone Norman on 01706 812205 or Jean on 01706 817492 or see our website at