Autumn is my third favorite season. It would probably be higher, but it has that really cold season following it. Whatever I think of the seasons, I have to get my garden ready for Winter. This usually involves lots of mulch, at least in my case.
A couple of weeks ago when the nighttime temperatures were expected to dip into the 20s, I figured I had better try to winterize my butterfly bushes. They are all located on the “hill” on the south side of the garden.
We have four of them and I took a couple of bags of mulch and piled them around the base of the plants.
The black dot in the middle of the picture is our neighbor’s dog, Rugger. We have permission to let him out of their yard and play with him in ours, which we did. However, he tried to help a little too much… he kept trying to eat the mulch and chew through the back. We tried to wear him out and then we had to put him back. He pretty much wore us out! He’s still a puppy, so he has an infinite source of energy. He wasn’t too happy to be put back in his yard. He still wanted to help, as you can tell!
I finished piling the mulch around the base of the butterfly bushes. Butterfly bushes are marginally hardy in Zone 4 so I try to give them all the help they can get.
Since it was going to be even colder this night than the previous night, I moved the pots. I put the mums up next to the house, along with the boots and the hen and chicks. Dwayne had already unhooked the hose, so I didn’t have to worry about that.
We have a few pots in the front of the house. The one with the mum and lantana was already tucked in between the smokebush and the juniper, so I left it alone.
I tucked the snapdragons and impatiens under the junipers.
They got a little nipped, but they are still alive. Actually, they are still tucked under the junipers. I suppose I can move them back now!
I have some snapdragons that keep coming back in the Ash tree bed. I don’t remember planting them there and they have come up the last three years. Since they seem to be able to survive, I didn’t do anything with them.
The mum in the background looks even better from the front. Especially with the asters in bloom.
The celosia, or cockscomb, did not survive the freezes, but the pink flamingo still looks pretty good!
Fall decorations are starting to show up in the garden, too.
A smooth pumpkin has now joined the garden, so it is really looking like fall.
The weather has been nice enough that my roses are still blooming.
I have not been deadheading them and will not for the rest of the year.
I let the “seeds” form. These are called “hips” in the rose world. Birds will eat these for energy through the Winter and early Spring.
When the hips form on the rose, it starts to put the energy into producing the seeds and this tells the plant that it needs to start storing energy in the roots for next year.
Essentially, it begins shutting down. It will continue to grow, although slowly, until a few hard freezes occur.
Depending on how the Fall plays out temperature-wise, I will hold off winterizing the roses until it gets closer to Thanksgiving. These roses are on the south side of my house, so will have protection from the Winter winds, but I will still mulch them. I have had previous posts on different ways to winterize roses, but I usually only mulch. I will take a bag of mulch and dump it on the plant to protect the roots. I will do this on the southern roses and my Chinese miniature rose (although, it isn’t very miniature), won’t protect Sven, Ole or Sigrid….
… they were developed in Minnesota and have survived in our yard for a few years without extra help from me. I will also not cover our Knock-out rose. It is somewhat protected by surrounding plants in my garden, and it is generally hardy in our zone. I have had it several years now and haven’t covered it in at least three.
While I have been getting the garden ready for Winter, I don’t think my brain has grasped the realization that it is near the end of October and Winter is right around the corner. Maybe if I close my eyes real tight….
Posted under Autumn
This post was written by Eileen Loan on October 20, 2012