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Balconies and patios in winter

Garden lovers who don't want to stop working outdoors even in the winter can give their balcony or patio a facelift. There are a few things you can do outside even during the cold season: Withered flowers can be replaced by evergreens such as firs, cherry laurel, box and wild rosemary. Spaced-out planting is recommended so that there is still space between the evergreens for flowering plants such as hellebores, winter jasmine and spring heath. Such plants can then make way for spring plants such as primroses, snowdrops and crocuses once winter is over. Winter is also the ideal time to put your garden under a magnifying glass: Where does the snow recede quickest? Where is there less or more frost? Asking these questions allows you to better plan your planting in the following gardening year and select milder positions in your garden for more sensitive plants.

You need to take note of a few points to ensure that your balcony or terrace continues to make a good impression in the winter:

• Tubs and plant pots should be examined regularly for pests. Once a week is recommended.

• If there is heavy snowfall, make sure that you remove any large amounts of snow from plants so that their thin branches don't break.

• Winter is also the best time to replace trellises. If climbing plants no longer have flowers or leaves, trellises can be upgraded simply and easily.

• The roots of freshly planted plants often come out of the soil easily in the event of frost. If this happens, they should be carefully pressed back in again.

• Protect tubs and plant pots against strong wind. To prevent gusts of wind from toppling plants, you can either find them a corner out of the wind on a balcony or patio or simply put smaller plant pots together with larger and heavier ones so that they are better protected.

Unfortunately, watering is often neglected on colder days. But it is important that enough water is available to plants in winter, too. So don't forget to water them even during the colder months of the year! Remember that plants should be watered on frost-free days. Once a week is enough. The best time is in the late afternoon when the soil has thawed. As the temperature of the soil and water should be roughly the same, we do not recommend using warm water. An ideal temperature is between 8°C and 15 °C. In all cases, excess water should be able to drain off. Winter protection materials such as sheeting, jute and straw should never stay too wet since they can lose their protective insulating effect and no longer be able to compensate for large fluctuations in temperature.

A nicely decorated patio or balcony is pleasing to garden lovers at any time of the year, and you can create a handsome design quickly and easily in winter, too, with a few skilful touches here and there. However, any decoration should be wind-resistant and tolerant to snow, rain and ice. Balcony and patio tables are ideal for decorations of all kinds. For example, you can use fir branches or other evergreens in combination with decorative lights, bows or figures. Cut flowers can also be included in winter. If you put your table in front of a window, you can enjoy it every time you look out. Lights included in decorations look really good at night and can create a perfect atmosphere on a winter evening....

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