Winter gardening

Even when it gets cold outside, there are always things that I can still do in the yard if I am motivated enough and dressed warmly enough. One thing that I always do when the fall holidays are over, is collect the pumpkins and gourds that I used for my decoration and put them aside for the wildlife. As you can see, the deer really enjoy eating pumpkins.  The kids love to watch them rot and they are very proud in showing off this gross experiment to everyone who comes and visits us.  We also had some luck this past year with growing a new plant with the seeds that were left out to rot.  No effort went into this and it was a wonderful surprise when we had a little pumpkin that grew out of the mess.

I also try to plant any potted mums that I have purchased. There are some mums that are more hardy than others, but I don’t let this have any weight in my decision making when I pick them out.  This year I chose all yellow for my planters.  I even have friends that drop off plants that they would normally throw away, but are giving them a second chance with me. Of course, this year I did wait a little past the prime planting time. We have had our first frost and I am not sure if the mums will live over, if I don’t get them in the ground soon. Normal about half  of the mums that I do plant come back and I would rather give them a chance, then just putting them in the compost pile.  I have found that if I bury them well with mulch and leaf litter they do better.  I also found certain spots in the yard that are protected from the elements have a higher success rate.   My biggest problem is remembering in the springtime were I planted them.

I also do not cut any plants, shrubs, or grasses back in the fall.  They give a great refuge to birds and wildlife during the winter months and some plants just look great even when they are dried up.

The only thing I might do, is tie up the tall ornamental grasses in bundles. They tend to flop over with wet snow and then they just look sloppy.  In the spring time you can just take hedge trimmers to these tied bundles and clean up is a snap.  I have learned that you can do some “damage” if you prune back  those plants that have spring flowers.  I never can remember which plant is which, so I just wait until spring and see the new growth and work off of that.   “Opa” has always told me nothing will die from a good haircut.  Some plants come back better and stronger after a good pruning.  I try to avoid and cutting and transplanting during the peak hot summer months, but spring is a big free fall for pruning, splitting, and transplanting.

I have a lot of work come spring time, but the results are worth it.  Happy winter planting!!!!


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