Preparing Gardens for Winter

Terra Nova Nurseries’ Helleborus
 Winter Jewels™ ‘Amethyst Gem’
As the winter season approaches those in the landscape and gardening industries know that it is important to keep plants protected from the harsh, cold weather conditions. This can include many different tasks such as pruning plants; taking stock of the garden; spot-checking individual plants; and planting varieties that grow well in the winter time. 
Gardeners and landscape designers, we have listed below several tips that we believe are important for winter gardening and that will get you in the right mindset for the upcoming season!

  • Prune Deciduous Trees and Shrubs – Winter is a great time to prune back deciduous plants because the foliage has dropped, and it is easier to see the branching structure. Several things to remember is to prune any diseased or broken limbs, remove branches that go against the plant’s natural flow and be conservative when cutting back. The natural architecture of the plant will be a guide as to what needs to be trimmed back. 
  • Spot-check Plants Individually – The extreme changes in the weather can put a real toll on plants. Evergreen trees and shrubs usually get the worst of the winter months so making sure they have a fresh layer of mulch that is 3 to 4 inches deep after the first hard freeze of the season is very important. Certain perennials might need to be taken care of this time of the year as well. Try cutting back the bulk of the foliage in mass plantings of grasses while still being cautious to not damage the crowns.
  • Take Stock of the Garden’s Design – This is a good time to take a look at the permanent elements of a garden landscape such as the lawn, paths or evergreens. If a garden seems empty after the first frost of the season it might be a good idea to add a mixed bed with plants that grow well in the winter. A border of potted plants works well too because they can be easily covered or moved inside if the weather is too harsh. 
  • Add Plants That Grow Well in Winter – Just because the temperature has fallen doesn’t mean a garden has to go into hibernation. There are many plants that grow well in the cold winter months. The following plants look beautiful throughout the whole season. 
    • Helleborus – This winter blooming perennial thrives in light shade and usually grows between 1 to 3 feet. Our client, Terra Nova Nurseries has a nice variety of helleborus that are available for purchase. 
    • Lamium Maculatum ‘White Nancy’ – Its silvery colored leaves look beautiful in the winter as a ground cover to lighten up shaded beds. It also grows well in dry weather. 
    • Nandina ‘Fire Power’ – The foliage on this shrub has a deep crimson hue all winter long. 

Check out these links for additional ideas and inspiration:

Let us know what you think. Do you have any specific tips that you use in your own garden during the winter time?

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Don Eberly


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