Winterizing a flower garden is made easier by educating yourself on your plants in the spring. When purchasing your plants at your local nursery, check the facts on the tags inside the plant’s pot. There you will find facts about whether the plant is an annual that needs to be replaced each year or a perennial that will come back in the spring. It will also tell you best months to plant, temperatures the plant will survive, and best planting conditions.
Once you’ve planted your garden, you most likely won’t keep the tags that came with them, but you can if it helps you remember what to pull up in the cold months and what to leave for next year.
Mrs. Hacker’s technique for winterizing her garden is three-fold. First, place any frost-sensitive potted plants under shelter. She puts hers under the patio or in the potting shed where they are somewhat protected from the cold. Alternatively you can cover your plant with a tomato frame (wooden frame used for tomato plants) and staple plastic along the outside to form a makeshift shelter for your plant. Check your plant tags to see what temperatures they can withstand to get a better idea of what kind of shelter they need in the winter months. Each kind of plant has different cold and heat tolerances. It only gets down in the 30’s F where Mrs. Hacker lives.
Many perennial plants go dormant in the winter, so Mrs. Hacker lops off the top of the plant and places a stick next to it. This will allow her to locate it before it starts growing in the spring. If you can easily locate your dormant plants come spring, then you won’t accidentally dig them up or plant too close to them. You might also find it useful to cover the cut off plant with straw to protect the roots from the frost. This is especially good for people who don’t have a place to store their plants for the winter.
Plant your annuals together, so they are easy to locate when you have to pull them up. If you use “garden fabric” to keep the weeds out, pull up your annual plant before the winter, and place a rock where the hole is in the fabric. This way you will know where to place your new, replacement plant in the spring. A rock differentiates it from the perennials where you put sticks.
To help keep your garden beautiful all year long, cut the dormant plants off to the ground so that when they die you are not left with frozen leaves and sticks in your garden. Despite what you might think, there are colorful plants that flower all winter. Plant pansies and violas to brighten a drab winter garden.
Have any questions? We’d be happy to try to answer. Leave a comment/reply, and be sure to subscribe to our blog for the latest in DIY tips.