Tucking in for a Long Winter Nap

With Thanksgiving come and gone it is time to finish up tucking in your garden for the winter. Here in the Pacific Northwest our temperatures dipped into an early freeze but, now the rains have returned there are a few tasks your garden will benefit from in the coming growing season.

Clean up…rake up those fleshy perennials that have become slimy like Hostas, Irises and Daylily.

Cut back…other spent perennials like Salvias, Veronica, Digiplexis, etc. but, leave any perennials that have seed heads like Rudbeckia or Echinaceae. The seeds provide food for song birds through the fall and winter.


Prune...spring flowering, deciduous shrubs like Spiraea, Berberis, Lilac, Cornus, Hardy Fucshia, Weigela  and the like. This year I will be pruning my Spiraea ‘Goldflame’ and Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ back severely since I have not done it for two seasons. Depending on the size you want to keep your plants, you can choose to just give it a little trim and remove the spent flowers or you can prune more aggressively if the plants are getting out of control.

Spraea 'Goldflame'

Here my Spiraea ‘Goldflame’ has mostly covered the pathway because I have not pruned it back for a few years.

Already there are emerging buds so I have cut just above them. In the spring, this will be a new flowering branch.

Mulch…I prefer to use a good composted organic garden mulch and apply about 2″ all over garden beds. For some this may seem like a daunting task but, I have found it is so important in maintain good, pliable soil. The mulch will provide necessary nutrients throughout the winter and spring and promote healthy root growth. If placed in the late fall or winter it helps combat weed seeds from germinating in the spring.

Water…If there has been a dry spell, it is important to water root before a freeze. The water will insulate the root system from drying air that may reach them.

Happy fall and see you in Winter!

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