Landgarten von Jutta und Michael Bongers am Niederrhein

Garden column: Onset of winter in February


Since yesterday evening a weather phenomenon has kept us in suspense, which according to meteorologists is very rare. The effects on us are around 20 cm of snow, cold east wind with temperatures in the minus range and so gusty to stormy that there are snow drifts up to a meter in height.

The weather forecast for the next 10 days suggests a real onset of winter. Down to minus 13 degrees are reported, with a sharp east wind.

What does this mean for the garden?

Most likely not most of what happens to the plants. Nature is still in winter mode. Therefore, in the best case, everything is only delayed by 10-14 days. The closed snow cover protects even more sensitive plants.

Nevertheless, we used yesterday’s Saturday to check the garden again for its winter suitability:

• Are all the water taps turned on?

• Empty watering cans, turn them around or bring them into the garden shed

• Fill up feeding places for the birds

• Delicate potted plants (myrtles) brought into the house or placed on the east-facing house

• The pond pumps were taken out of the basin

• Bee colonies controlled


On the positive side, the forecasted 10 days of permafrost are very good for nature. Many pests do not survive this temperature. Furthermore, this creates the immensely important frost fermentation, which has not always taken place in the Lower Rhine in recent years.

In the end, it’s not just nature that comes to rest. We are also forced to keep our feet still for a few days, which is not the worst.


In this sense, enjoy the winter hustle in front of or behind the window panes.