Can't really tell if winter is coming early this year or if this was a fluke, but it sure woke me up to all the things I need to do to the garden. Here are some things to make sure to do real soon (before we freeze again).
- Mow it short. This will reduce the chance of your lawn developing "snow mold".
- Apply a Fall fertilizer
- Water deeply and less frequently (as usual) but less frequently than normal
- Change the watering time of your irrigation to water mid-morning instead of 6am, keep those walkways unfrozen.
- Call your local irrigation company to get on their schedule to have your irrigation system blown out.
You can always turn your system off if it waters your sidewalks and pathways, they can turn into
hazards and liability issues if they are icy. (Funny enough, there is a lawyer's office downtown that
always forgets to turn off their system once the weather stays below freezing, and the sidewalks
surrounding their office are full of slick ice. You'd think they would know better.)
- Plant spring bulbs. Remember, Tulips are deer candy, but Daffodils, Crocus, Snowdrop, Fritillaria, Bluebells, Bearded Iris and Allium are all deer resistant. They need well draining soil.
- Great time to plant trees and shrubs! Now that all the energy normally directed to flowering and leaves is over, that energy is going to the roots and there is good root development happening. The plants you put in now will be ready to burst forth come spring.
- Shop for plants with autumn color. Swedish Aspen (which don't sucker) have great orange color.
- Plant hardy mums and those lovely ornamental purple cabbage and put a couple of pumpkins out.
- Continue to water deeply but less often. Even though it is cold, it is still dry. Continue to water when the ground is not frozen, bring a bucket out with you or hook up your hose.
- Rake up leaves from fruit trees and any diseased leaves. There is a cycle of disease that can be broken if you remove the diseased leaves.
- Mulch your roses.
- Move your tender plants inside.
- Trim your perennials a little bit but not all the way. Leave some plant material to protect the root crown from winter damage. Do not trim your shrubs now, do this in spring after danger of hard frosts pass.
- Leave your grasses standing. Ornamental grasses add interest to the winter garden as well as seed for local wildlife. Trim these in spring.
(Sorry about the funny formatting, couldn't figure it out and honestly would rather play with my daughter than struggle with the computer...)
- Sharpen and clean your tools, remember to store them in a dry place.
- Read garden books, catalogs, magazines.
- Think of how well your garden did this year and start planning changes for next year.
Winter is a great time to plan. As long as I can see the ground (i.e., it's not covered in feet of snow) I can create a landscape design. And then, come springtime, you will be ready to go as soon as the ground is workable rather than having to wait until summer (like most of the fools who forget about their landscape until the bulbs start to come up) and you can have the best looking landscape in the neighborhood!
If you might be planning work that requires someone else to install it, remember that most good companies are booked a couple of months in advance once the good weather hits again. Be ahead of the crowd, know what you want to do and get on the schedule to get it done in spring.
Some lovely winter images to get you all in the mood:
Here is another image that I desperately tried to post here but which is protected, follow this link to some lovely photos of winter gardens: Webshots Winter Garden Photos
I would love to design a landscape like this - let me know of any of you want it too!
Here are some books designed to help us all through this bleak season, but beware, most of the contents of books like this are for warmer climates.
Email me for personal advice on how to get your garden looking good through the winter. firstname.lastname@example.org and check out my website at www.carlsengdesigns.com