Winters are considered a nightmare for gardeners. The intense cold snow not only hinders the growth of plants but also hinders beauty of sensitive flowers and bloomers. Gardens are a source of natural harmony, love and great care and affection. Winters are specially important for gardeners to provide extensive care for their gardens. Plants need intensive prepping to prepare them for the cold, harsh winters. In this article, we will discuss the various measures gardeners can take to make sure their plants are better prepared for the winters. Here we will discuss showy garden flower specific measures in particular. But not to say that the same measures cannot be applied to other plants. Some ideas are universal in nature and are applicable to all types of garden plants.
Some simple steps to prepare your showy garden flowers for the winter are:
1) Cutting Up Dried Plants
Before the winters sets in, the showy garden flowers tend to lose their leaves. Some parts of the plant also may die up and become dormant. Such dried plants, dead and dormant plants must be cut. If you cut such plants to 6″ to 8″ above the ground level, it can help the showy garden flower plants stem hold the winter snow. This can help in insulating the plant during the winter and help it survive. Cutting up unwanted growth and dried and dormant plant parts also help protect the showy garden plants against disease and stress. The winter dry spell requires the optimum use of the scarce nutrients and cutting the unwanted parts help it withstand the short supply the nutrient.
2) Cleaning Up Rotten Plants and Invasive Weeds
Besides the fact that rotten and unwanted plants make the garden look untidy, they are also breeding ground of fungus, plant diseases and other pests. An unkempt plant attracts insects and pests which can lay eggs on the plants stalks and stems. Removing old dried and dead plants and burying them into the soil helps to keep the plants pest free for winter.
Weeds are other harmful plant that can eat into the nutrients of your show garden plant. Weed can eat into your garden space and present issues for the plants growth. Weeds are very dangerous if not controlled in the early phase. They tend to grow faster than normal plants and can hinder the growth of showy garden plants. Weeds should be uprooted and removed in the early stage of growth. Once allowed growing, it becomes difficult to later remove them and may need constant attention against any possible regeneration.
3) Preparing Mulch
Mulch can be helpful for winters in showy garden plants. Showy garden plants should be mulch 2″ to 5″ from the ground for the upcoming winter season. Mulch can be of any type as they help the plant retain nutrients and moisture in the dry winter season. There are several types of mulch such as dried grass clippings, hemlock mulches and pine post peelings. It helps the showy garden plant root system to retain moisture and also serve as an insulation from the winter cold. The showy garden plants tend to lose root tissue during the winter. The constant freezing and thawing further damages the root tissue.
When the ground reaches a partial freezing condition, mulch can be applied to protect the root system. Mulch can also help protect the showy garden plants root against weed and also protect the soil against erosion. It protects the root by regulating soil temperature, protect against hard frost, thereby prolonging plant life.
Although Mulch are useful for the tender and sensitive showy garden plants, there are other types of showy garden plants that do not require mulch during winter. Extra moisture for the sensitive showy garden plants risks further root rot. Refer to gardening websites or local gardener to determine your showy garden flower type before mulching. These details are easily available online as well.
It is imperative to water your showy garden plants during the winter.When the ground thaws and is able to receive water, ample water should be provided to keep the root moisture intact. Watering your showy garden plants during winter dry spells when the ground snow is clear. The plants require water every 3 to 4 weeks during dry spells. The showy garden plants wakes up during different times of spring following dry winters. So always keep an eye out for signs of life as different plants may take different time-period for revival. Refer to the list of showy garden plant from the above list to understand the water intake requirement depending upon the plant.
Moisture is of utmost importance for any plant, and a balanced supply of moisture will ensure the plant can sustain the harsh climates. Showy garden plants which require additional moisture supply must be given special attention and support to withstand dry spells.
5) Prepare Soil For The Winter
Although most often gardeners prepare their soil during spring, fall is also a good time to prep the soil for the perennials. Digging up compost pit comprising of compost, kelp, bone meal, rock phosphate and manure during the fall provides additional time for compost breakdown. This additional time helps the soil to breakdown the compost and add vital nutrient into the soil. This ensures that the soil is ready for the winter and is biologically active for the showy garden plants. It also provides an additional benefit of not waiting for the soil to dry up before working on soil prepping. It further improves the soil drainage before the extreme weather hits.
Covering up the soil after prepping with compost helps protect the soil against the rain. It helps stop the rain water wash the compost below the active root zone. Using a plastic sheet or other helps protect the composting and can be removed before the spring begins.
6) Pruning Showy Garden Plants
Pruning your showy garden plants can benefit the plant in sustaining its root during the winter. Pruning selected showy garden plants can help reduce the burden upon the root system of your showy garden plant. Pruning protects the plant against winter exposure to diseases and extreme stress when nutrition is limited. The excess and unwanted leaves or stem growth can be a breeding ground for pests or insects. Insects lay eggs upon dried or moist dead parts of showy garden plants, which can create more nuisance if not removed early. Pruning ensure that all such unwanted or excess plant parts are removed and cleaned away.
Many showy garden plants can greatly benefit during a spring pruning to prepare for the dry winter. It keeps the root system and stem structure intact and avoids unnecessary growth. It also helps tidy up the garden space by removing unwanted plant growth.
7) Digging Tender Bulbs
During the Falls it is the right time for planting hard stemmed spring bloom bulbs. However, there are certain bulbs which are called tender bulbs, which need to be dug up from frozen grounds. Some of these tender bulbs include the popular summer bloomers such as the dahlias, gladiolus and cannas.
In order to save these tender bulbs for consecutive years, they need to be dug up and their dried leaves cut away to save them. Frost or frozen ground turns their leaves into a golden brown color post drying. Along with cutting off the dried leaves, any excess soil must be brushed off the tender bulbs. Do not use water to wash these tender bulbs as excess moisture may cause dampness which can rot the root system when stored during winter.
These tender bulbs must be dried in a cool environment for 7 to 10 days. The dried bulbs should be packed into air circulating boxes or container for the air to flow. Cover the tender bulbs with a newspaper or use sawdust to keep them dry and moisture free. It also helps avoid the bulb come in contact with cold surfaces. The bulbs must be stored in cold dark place such as a basement or a garage. The storage space must not reach freezing level but rather cool temperature.
These are some of the measures every gardener, whether beginner or experienced, can use to ensure their winter showy garden plants survive the winter and replenish post the dry spell. Although the above given steps are crucial for plants and works most of the time, it is always advised and imperative to keep a close watch to the developments of your plants. During the winters, the plants are sensitive to even the most minor of changes in weather, temperature and surrounding. Every gardener must be attentive with a keen eye to detail in order to always ensure their showy garden plants are provided the optimum environment. With the help of the above measures and a healthy supply of nutrition and water, your showy garden plants will blossom away to its glorious best post winter in no time.