I don’t like to talk about winter but with our first frost happening this week, its time to think about protecting your garden. If you haven’t brought your containers near the house or inside to protect them from the elements now is the time. I like to bring my hardy plants in their containers to a position close to the home. If it gets extremely cold I can cover them easily if grouped together.
Use burlap to wrap your pots for extra protection. I am very lucky to have a greenhouse to bring things inside but the only heat I use is a small heater. As long as the greenhouse is around 5C everything survives, even the Geraniums and Boston Fern. Last year our winter dropped to -10C which made it hard to keep things warm in the greenhouse. I used some bubble wrap to carefully cover my precious plants and it worked. I didn’t lose a thing.
I like to place cut evergreen boughs in my containers. I have a couple of containers planted with bulbs and sure don’t want to lose them. If you don’t have evergreens in the yard that can be spare a few branches then check out the garden center. As Christmas trees arrive as so will boughs of evergreens for decorating. I like to use my cedar and Osmanthus branches for decorating.
Skimmia is a pretty choice with its tiny rose-coloured flowers in bloom now. So why didn’t I just plant them? The container is so full of bulbs there is no room for plant roots. If you haven’t planted spring bulbs get them in as soon as possible for a good showing next spring.
Take a walk in your garden to watch for fallen branches that may come down during stormy weather. Collect them and compost what you can. Use branches to decorate your containers. Branches from red twig dogwood or blueberries look great popped into a container. It gives your container that needed vertical element.
Be sure to rake the leaves off your lawn. Too many leaves can suffocate your lawn. Rake the leaves on to garden beds and let them naturally protect your garden. Yes, that’s my yard above. It’s a daily chore to rake the leaves in November.
Did you cut your garden back this fall? If not, don’t worry about doing it now. You don’t want to walk on frozen soil. Let the leaves turn into compost like Mother Nature does in the forest. In the spring, many perennials like Hostas are easier to rake up as they have decomposed.
We are very lucky to live in the pacific northwest as winters are usually mild and only three months long. We seldom have a hard winter like many other parts of the country and I am grateful for that. Once its too cold to work outside start reading all those wonderful seed catalogues that start coming in the mail. Plan your garden, sort through your seeds and decide what you will plant next year. Do you need more seeds?