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Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your garden has to look drab, especially as the days are beginning to lengthen. Consider giving your garden a burst of colour with flowers and vegetables that can withstand the cold.  In fact, some plants are so hardy that they can survive low or even very low temperatures. Here are 6 handy tips for flourishing winter flowers and plants whilst the temperatures plummet.

Winter flowers that grow well in cold weather

Pansies and violas

Expert winter garden advice
(C) Fumiaki Hayashi

Pansies and violas can withstand sub-zero temperatures and will bloom beautifully. To ensure they flourish, place them in an area that gets the most sunlight and water them regularly with a fertiliser that is rich in phosphorus and potassium. 

If your region gets a lot of rainfall, add a drainage feature to prevent water stagnation. Roots react poorly to excessive moisture. This tip also applies to warmer weather and will stop mosquitoes from taking over your garden. 

Cyclamen

Gardening advice
(C) Manuel Torres

Although often overlooked for this quality, cyclamen is one of the hardiest tuberous plants out there and makes for a great winter flower. Despite their delicate appearance, they shouldn’t be grown indoors unless they are put in an unheated room. Instead, consider planting them outdoors in a bright area that gets direct sunlight. 

When the weather begins to cool, cyclamen are getting ready to bloom. It’s the perfect time to give them a helping hand by giving them fertiliser for flowering plants

Water them once a week in a bath. Put the plant in a bucket or large pot full of water for approximately 10 minutes. This will stop the tuber from taking on too much moisture, which causes rot. 

Removing dead flowers regularly will encourage new growth.  You can easily take them off with your fingers or secateurs by keeping them close as possible to the base of the plant and removing the stem as well. 

Primrose

Your garden can flourish in the cold
(C) Henry Perks

With their white, red, blue, purple or yellow flowers, primroses provide stunning displays of colour in your garden during the wintry months. 

You can extend their flowering cycle during the winter by putting them in direct sunlight or a bright area. Make sure you remove dead flowers regularly and provide fertiliser approximately every two weeks

Avoid growing them indoors, especially near a radiator. Keep in mind that all the plants featured in this article grow best outdoors. What’s more, primroses grow well when planted with the tuberous plants mentioned above. We recommend planting them at the same time. 

Cold weather care for your vegetables

Winter garden
(C) John Price

Winter is an ideal time for soil cultivation, especially if your garden has clay soil. It is much easier to turn the soil at this time, thanks to the rain and dew. Once you’ve turned it, leave it as is. Adding a little straw will help break it down. When spring arrives, the soil will be noticeably looser. You won’t regret having worked it during the winter. It’s an extra step that can be done gradually and without much effort. 

What vegetables grow best in cold weather?

Winter vegetables
(C) Jan Canty

Winter flowers also include varieties of lettuce, whose leaves are much thicker, and which can tolerate temperatures as low as -5ºC. Bear in mind that they won’t grow as quickly in the cold weather. They will flourish if you cover them with a thermal protection sheet. 

Cabbage varieties also grow very well in the cold. It’s even believed that they taste better when they’ve gone through a cold spell. Strawberries withstand the cold very well too. Cover the pots with straw and watch the leaves change from dark green to red in colour.  In the spring, the strawberries will begin growing again and quickly produce new leaves.  

If you are using a greenhouse, take advantage of any sunny winter days to open the doors or windows and let the fresh air in. 

What should I do if it snows on my flowers? 

Winter garden advice
(C) Marcus Cramer

That’s a hard question to answer because it depends on the plant.  For example, snow should be removed from plants with “soft” leaves, which can be damaged by the weight. But snow can be beneficial for some plants, as it protects them from potential frost damage. The best solution is to protect plants that are delicate by covering them with a frost protection cover. We recommend buying bags for trees and shrubs and sheets (by the metre) for the most fragile plants. 

Now your garden will have the chance to flourish throughout winter and you won’t have to wait until spring for an added burst of colour.

Did you enjoy this article on which winter flowers to plant so your garden can flourish? Why not read our article on identifying what’s wrong with your plants or even our guide on what to do in the garden in January!

Are you gardening this winter? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

DIY Console Table with drawers created by My Thrifty Life by Cassiefairy

With just an old drawer, some reclaimed wood and a bit of imagination, it’s easy to build your own console table or desk. With many of us working remotely or home schooling, creating a dedicated space for studying or business is a great way to separate your work from your home life. Additionally, you can never have too much storage – especially in the hallway where keys, letters, loose change and newspapers can quickly clutter up the space. 

In terms of materials, you can use any reclaimed timber you have to hand, such as plywood, pallet wood or scaffold boards. For the drawer you can recycle one from an old, tumble-down chest like we have, or you could use a storage basket or two. The dimensions of this piece of furniture will depend on the size of the drawer you’re upcycling and the length of the legs. So, because you’re making it yourself, you can always customise the design to suit your needs. You could make it lower to create a child’s desk for homework or, rather than using a drawer, you could make a narrow cubby hole beneath the desktop to store your laptop, or you can use taller legs to DIY a narrow console table to keep your entryway organised. 

Check out the guide with step-by-step photos to make this handy DIY console table here. Enjoy!

DIY Console Table with drawers
DIY Console Table with drawers

Project created by My Thrifty Life by Cassiefairy with photography by Andy-Greenacre.co.uk 

Did you enjoy this guide on an inexpensive DIY Console Table? Why not read our article on our tips & tricks to create a cosy reading nook or even our January home & garden checklist!

Are you building your own console table? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

If you’ve ever wanted a neon light but can’t justify the cost, this project is for you! Thanks to the invention of electroluminescent wire, it’s now possible to DIY a neon-effect light in any shape you like. Seeing as Christmas is approaching, we decided to create a white neon snowflake, with a sprinkling of glitter for added sparkle. Read on to find out just how easy it is to create a neon light of your own.

Project by Cassiefairy.com and photography by Andy-Greenacre.co.uk

What you’ll need

To do this DIY project you’ll need the following tools:

Jigsaw

Palm sander

Drill with drill bits

In addition, these materials will be needed:

1 small piece of MDF

Block of wood

Assorted sandpaper to fit your palm sander 

Fine surface filler

Quick-dry primer and undercoat paint in white

Rust-Oleum Sparkling Glitter spray paint

EL Wire in white with battery pack

Hanging hook

Cost, time and difficulty

The approximate cost of materials for this project is £25. Depending on your DIY skills, this project shouldn’t take longer 2 hours to complete, excluding drying time.

Step 1

Print out a snowflake shape to the size you want your finished neon light to be. Use this as a template to trace a slightly larger shape onto the MDF board. Use a jigsaw to cut out this shape.

Step 2

Cover the edges of the snowflake with quick drying surface filler. This will prevent the edges of the MDF board from absorbing the paint too much. Allow to dry thoroughly before using a palm sander with sandpaper to smooth any rough edges.

Step 3

Mark out where the EL wire will be positioned on the snowflake shape. Mark a cross at the points where the EL wire will need to be pushed through to the back of the shape. Use a drill bit with a slightly larger circumference than the EL wire and make holes at these points. Add one larger hole in the centre to fit multiple pieces of EL wire through.

Step 4

Paint the whole snowflake shape with a primer and undercoat paint in white. You may need two coats, so allow to dry between layers. Once the final coat is dry, for extra glitz you can use a glitter spray paint to cover the whole shape in glitter. This also provides a protective clear top coat to seal the paint.

Step 5

Cut a block of wood the same depth as the battery pack and screw this into the back of the snowflake in the centre. Add a hanging hook to the block. Tape the battery pack to the back of the snowflake beneath the block.

Step 6

Feed the EL wire through the central hole from the back and weave it into the hole at one of the tips of the snowflake. Feed it through the ‘branches’ of the snowflake on either side of the line. On the reverse, take the wire back to the centre and repeat until all the arms of the snowflake have an EL wire design. Tape any remaining EL wire to the back of the snowflake.

And there you have it, a DIY neon-style light! Turn on the EL wire and proudly position your snowflake decoration on a sideboard or hang it on a wall to add an eye-catching feature to your festive decor. If you want to create a different design to decorate your home all year round, simply trace out the shape onto MDF and follow the same steps to outline the design or write out a phrase.

As with all our projects, please take care while using tools, materials and equipment. This article was written by Cassie Fairy. You can find Cassie’s blog ‘My Thrifty Life’ at Cassiefairy.com, where she shares daily blog posts on Christmas DIY projects, upcycled finds, low-cost festive recipes and plenty of inspiration for living a lovely life on a budget.

More DIYs:

Pallet Cabinet DIY Tutorial

DIY Outdoor Pallet Bar

Here are a few ideas to hopefully give you some inspiration of some less obvious ways of subtly adding autumnal touches to your home as the cold draws in!

 

1. Add touches of autumnal colours

Different shades of deeper reds, yellows and browns will fit unbe-leaf-ably well with autumnal aesthetic. This colour scheme still stays within a neutral palette, yet adds some warmness to your home.

 

2. Brighten your home up with plants

Adding seasonal house plants is always a good idea. It’s been said that adding some nature and greenery to your space will help you to de-stress, which means that a pop of colour is simply a huge bonus. 😉

Autumnal Chrysanthemums and Bromeliads are gorgeous examples of autumnal house plants which can add vibrancy to your home and leaf you smiling.

 

3. Get some wood

Wood similarly has warmer tones in it and contributes to the ‘outdoors is indoors’ feel. Wood-n’t you love a bit of a rustic edge to your space? There are so many pieces of indoor furniture which use wood – why not turn over a new leaf and switch up your stool for a wooden one?

 

4. Warm up with candles and fire

Any form of (non dangerous) flame in a home is guaranteed to autumn-atically make your space so much more cosy! You can mix it up with candles of different sizes and smells, or even light up a wood fire.

 

5. Bring in the furs and rugs  

Added Hygge or comfort is a huge indicator that we’re entering into the colder months. Having a rug or blanket on hand in your space means that you’re guaranteed never to get chilly. Furr-ntastic!

 

We hope you picked up some tips on how to keep your home cosy yet seasonal this Autumn! Anyone who steps into your home will want to know where you got your inspiration from. 😉

 

How to Secure Your Home During Winter

Essential Gardening jobs for October

 

Some people prune their plants every day, whilst others never even consider it! However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated to reach that middle ground. That’s why we want to help you learn how to prune the two most common plants in your garden.

Go on, stalk us below!

To do the cuttings, you will need:

Which plants do I prune?

This can be difficult to answer because, as a rule, not all plants need pruned, and when they do, the time in the year varies depending on the plant. This is because the main reason to prune a plant is to control growth and define the shape for the following season.

For example, Hydrangeas bloom on the buds formed in the previous year. If you take their cuttings in winter then you will remove these buds, meaning that throughout the year you won’t see a single flower.

Spring-flowering shrubs should be pruned in late June, after they have flowered. We recommend pruning larger shrubs quite hard, whilst giving the younger plants just a small cut at the back.

How to prune roses

Roses are pruned in spring to rejuvenate the plant and stimulate its growth. Remove all of the dead or dying stems, as well as those with a brown interior as this implies that the winter cold has frozen them.

Always cut above a bud that is growing towards the outside of the plant, at a height of around 5cm or 6cm above. This allows the sap to reach the bud as normal, fostering growth.
It is also important to remove any stems or twigs growing at the base of the plant, sometimes known as suckers. It’s highly likely that your rose has been grafted, and allowing these branches to grow not only leaches nutrients from the rest of the plant, but can also eventually kill the grafted part.

thehandymano manomano prune plants rose cutting prune

How to prune geraniums

Geraniums are pruned in late winter or early spring. This will strengthen the plant and remove the thick, unproductive stems that tend to spoil them.
Pruning geraniums is much more drastic, as you are reducing the plant almost to ground level. This can be difficult to come to terms with at first, but, remember that for each stem you cut, more will appear!
Remove any stems that are diseased or weak, and any others that obstruct the shape you want to give the plant. The more compact geraniums are, the better they look and the more flowers will bloom.
Don’t forget that from all of the offshoots you remove, you can take cuttings for new plants. Cut the stem on an angle, apply rooting powder, and sow them in a pot with new soil.
During the blooming period, remove any flower heads the minute they begin to wither. This will allow the plant to produce new flowers instead of wasting its precious nutrients on the creation of new seeds. Cut the heads at their lowest point, right where they join the main stem. This will activate dormant buds, which will begin to grow and form new buds.

thehandymano manomano prune plants geraniums cutting prune

Top tips on how to prune

  • Don’t forget that a cut is basically a small wound that we’re creating on the plant. To prevent it from becoming infected, we recommend you use pruning sealer any time the cut has a diameter greater than 5mm. To use, apply the sealant to the cut area then spread with your fingers around the sides of the stalk. It’s a good product to keep handy not only when you are pruning, but also as a preventative measure in case of accidental breakage of our plants, grafts, or any damage caused by frost or hail. If you don’t have access to pruning paint then just make sure that you prune at the correct time of the year, as this will leave the cut to naturally heal itself!
  • You also need to keep your pruning tools sufficiently well maintained.
    One of the most important things to do is disinfect them with alcohol any time you are working on a plant that may be diseased. This prevents disease from spreading from one flower to another.
  • Quality pruning tools will provide many years of service. Make sure to clean them thoroughly after use, and oil them if you’re using them a lot. I personally recommend going for the well known brands, as you will also easily find spare parts or replacements if needed, saving yourself the price of new ones.
  • Last but not least, don’t forget to feed your plants. Especially if they’ve just survived the winter cold and now we’ve subjected them to stressful pruning.

We hope you rose to this occasion and will now help your flowers bloom!

When it rains : Gardening Advice