Putting the Plants to Bed

putting the plants to bed for the winter image2 image3

We hate to say it, but it’s time to put the garden to bed for the season. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the winter.

  • It’s a great time to relocate perennials, but ensure you have their new location dug and ready before you dig up the old plant. Water well to establish root growth before the deep freeze.
  • Squirrel problems – those pesky critters, although cute, love nothing more than to eat up your spring bulbs. If you’re looking to put some bulbs in for spring colour, get some chicken wire first. Dig the hole 2 times as deep as the size of the bulbs. Put a group of bulbs in together, cover them with a bit of soil, cover the soil with chicken wire and then fill in the hole with the rest of the soil. The squirrels will give up when they meet the chicken wire.
  • Butterfly Bush – trimmed back to 1.5 or 2 feet. And don’t panic in the spring when buds don’t immediately appear. It’s a late budder – often not until June.
  • Clematis and hydrangeas with flowers which grow from old wood should be just tidied up.  Types that bloom from new shoots though, can be trimmed back to about 12”.
  • Climbing and Shrub Roses should be tidied up for shape. Hybrid Tea roses though can be trimmed back to about 1 foot, or the size of a rose hut, if using, although leave lots of growth. It’s beneficial to add a hill of manure over the growing point to provide lots of food.
  • Tall bearded iris – Do not mulch. Ensure no mulch or soil is covering the top of the bulbs as otherwise they can rot over the winter.
  • Grasses can be cut to about 2” or left for the winter. Leaving them in your garden for texture, shape and shelter for the birds is not a bad thing. You can even decorate them for Christmas with ties and bows.
  • It is also a great time to work on  your garden soil. Cover your beds with peat moss, compost or manure (even raked leaves). They will break down over the winter and add organic matter. 
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