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Getting Your Perennials Ready for Winter

Thursday French Country Decor

We've loved them all summer long, giving us beautiful color throughout our gardens. Maybe you had a group of them that you sat besides every morning to have your first cup of coffee.

Flowers bring joy to our lives and although they won't continue doing this in our gardens, there's something to be said about fresh cut flowers that can linger in our homes, especially this time of year.

Some of our plants do wonderfully just watering them, others need fertilizer and additional care. Just like in caring for them all summer long, we'll also care for them ow to ensure their protect from the brutal cold temperatures ahead of us.

The root system is the most important.

  • Cut back spring blooming perennials 
  • Cut back summer perennials 

This will help ensure any water seeping through the soil around the plants will keep the roots healthy.

  • Weeding – Fall is the perfect time to weed your gardens! Once the plants die back, and you start cleaning up your gardens, it’s easier to see the weeds that have been hiding all summer. Water the soil a few hours before you plan to weed your garden. This will soften up the soil and make pulling the weeds much easier. (On a side note, this is the best weeding tool, hands down!)
  • Mulching –  If you have any tender perennials that will need extra protection during the winter, you can use mulch as a winter garden cover. Leaves, pine needles, and other organic materials are the best mulch for winter protection. To cover plants with leaves for winter, you can simply rake them into the garden bed if you have enough to cover everything. Otherwise, you can just use them to cover specific plants if you’d rather.

Covering them, especially the one's that required additional attention during the summer will help protect them from any falling debris, as well as from the snow laying directly on them.

  • Watering – It may seem silly to worry about watering plants in the fall when they’re going dormant. But keeping plants well hydrated in the fall is actually a super important step for winterizing gardens, especially if there’s a drought. Watering plants in the fall gives them a much better chance to survive the winter.
  • Amending the soil – Fall is the best time to add soil amendments to your garden beds. Compost is a great amendment for any soil type, and a wonderful way to refresh your soil. But before you add any other soil amendments, be sure to test the soil so you know exactly what it needs. It’s easy to do with a home soil test kit.
  • Dig up annual bulbs – the first thing to do after freezing temperatures have killed off the bulb plants is to dig up the bulbs and store them for winter. See below for details about overwintering flower bulbs.
  • Store your bulbs – After digging up the bulbs from your garden, remove all of the dead foliage and allow them to dry out a bit to prepare them for storage. I pack my bulbs into cardboard boxes, using peat moss or newspaper to keep them from drying out or rotting, and then store them on a shelf in my basement.
  • Move potted bulbs inside – Tender bulbs growing in containers can be overwintered right in their pots. Simply cut off the foliage, and move them to a dark, cool (but above freezing) location for the winter.
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