Early Winter Tips

Yesterday’s clean up at the Windermere Blvd. Greenspace Garden reminded me of all the things we should and shouldn’t attempt this time of year. Here’s my tip list for December gardening:
– If it turns to mush, cut it back. Once the alocasias, colocasias, gingers and anything else with soft tissue takes a freeze hit, they just look bad the rest of winter.
– Before cutting anything back, look at it for its winter interest. Even brown ornamental grasses have a certain beauty. Wait until we have a hard freeze and the ice crystals form on the foliage. It is magical. Leftover stalks with no leaves can also provide structure and winter interest. Better than looking at flat surface, brown ground.
– Now is a great time to move anythings that is deciduous. Once those leaves are off, move them to their new homes. Always water in well and keep them watered every so often during the winter especially if we have a dry one.
– Wait to transplant evergreen plants a few weeks before spring brakes, usually sometime in late February.
– Keep those winter weeds plucked when they are small. Makes for an easier chore than letting them get out of hand.
– Do not cut roses back yet. Wait until the first week in February. Cutting them back now can cause buds to emerge in late winter should the weather warm up for a few weeks at a time.
– Rake those leaves and store them for mulching in the spring. They are free. Consider it your duty to recycle them and in turn improve the soil. Pick up your neighborhood leaves on the side of the road already bagged and ready to go.
– Applying heavy mulches can cause root rot around plants that have died back already but will return in the spring. We usually have a good amount of rainfall in the winter months. To much mulch can mean excess retention of moisture around these dormant roots, leading to big time problems.
– The final garden clean up should be scheduled for the first and second week of February, just in time for the weather to warm up.

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