While the parade of flowers may be finished for the year, the gardener is not. It’s time to clean out flowerbeds and put away garden decor and equipment.
Tidying up the garden now allows emerging spring plants to grow freely, and protects garden décor and equipment from winter elements. Clean flowerbeds now while the weather is still nice and the soil is easy to work. And isn’t there enough to do in spring without adding cleanup to the list?
HOW TO CLEAN UP YOUR FLOWER GARDEN:
- Water flowers and flowering shrubs one last time before the ground freezes.
- Remove and compost dead or dying annuals. If diseased, trash.
- Clean and store stakes, cages, containers and garden ornaments. They’ll last longer if not left exposed all winter. Wrap concrete or clay containers too large to move.
- Weed beds one last time.
- Spread a 2” to 3” layer of chopped leaves around flowers and shrubs, being careful to keep the mulch from touching the plants themselves. Decomposing leaf mold creates healthy soil.
- Drain and store hoses and watering cans. Turn off water to outdoor faucets.
- Once the ground has frozen, cut perennials back to about 3” tall.
- Don’t cut back plants that birds and other wildlife forage for food through the winter. Examples include black-eyed Susans, coneflower, ornamental grasses or vines with berries.
- Once the ground has frozen, mulch beds again for less weeds and healthier soil.
Unless you see branches that are dead or diseased, wait until late winter to prune trees and shrubs.