Dear Gardening Friends,
It’s hard to believe the beautiful prolonged fall we’ve been having. There are still perennials blooming in my gardens, even after a few frosts. I just can’t bring myself to cut plants down that are still in bloom. There are even a few begonia going strong. Amazing for early November. I’m delighted to have this extra time to get fall chores done.
- Anything that still looks green and healthy, I will leave up fort now.
- A few of my tall perennials got knocked over last week from the heavy rains. I will cut those back, then cut the stems into shorter lengths, and toss them over the garden bed where the plants were growing. It’s a good winter mulch and will decompose. I always do that with ostrich fern as their fronds fall on my garden path.
- The exception to this is when the plant shows signs of disease. Those cuttings should be discarded.
- The hosta have turned a beautiful gold but the leaves are now getting soft. This is a signal to cut them back which I will do shortly. When cutting the blossom stems, leave 6 – 8 inches of some of the stems intact. They persist during the winter and you will know just where your hosta are come spring.
- Any potted perennials you plan to overwinter can be stored now. Just this past few days mine have been hit by frost. Cut back the plants as you would those in the garden. The object is to protect the roots from freezing. Storage suggestions:
- Store them in the pots either in the garage or in a protected area outside. Next to the sheltered side of the garage or house works well.
- I sink some in the compost pile. Pots can also be sunk into the ground.
- Another technique I have found very successful is to put the pot in the midst of ground cover like pachysandra or ivy.
- For all the above storage methods the plants should be protected with a thick covering of leaves, straw. Pine needles or boughs left over from the holidays. Whole leaves are fine since they will be removed in the spring.
- Perennials stored in the garage should be watered lightly a few times over the winter. Those outside shouldn’t need it.
- If you haven’t drained your hoses and put them away, now would be the time.
- You can also bring in any garden art, hose guards, pots or decorations that should not be left out over the winter.
- Any untreated ceramic or terra cotta pots should not be left out all winter.
- It’s the perfect time to gather some mulched leaves. If you are storing bags of mulched leaves as I do, leave the bag open at the top so they don’t get moldy.
- If the leaves are wet it is important to dry them or ventilate them by cutting slits in the bags for additional air circulation. Bags with damp leaves should also have spaces between them to avoid spontaneous combustion.
- With the weather so mild you can still weed. Every weed you remove now won’t be there in the spring!
It’s not too late for a Garden Consultation. If you’re planning on making changes or improvements for next season planning now will give you a head start