Preparing Your Flower Beds for Winter

Your flower beds were beautiful this summer!  You had an amazing garden paradise around your house, but now winter is nearly here.  It is time to get your garden ready for winter.

The first step in getting your flower beds ready for winter is cleaning them out.  With recent frosts and freezing temperatures, annuals should be ready to be pulled and moved to compost bins.  Some plants, like elephant ears, need to be moved inside as potted plants or as tubers or bulbs for storage.  Perennials, like chrysanthemums, need to be cut back and covered with a layer of mulch for added protection.

Also, while you are cleaning out your beds for winter, it is a good time to move decorative items indoors.  Be sure to remove the batteries from solar lights.  I also like to clean and repaint my shepherd’s hooks and garden flag holders.  A shot of flat black spray paint makes them look like new!

Now that the beds are cleared out, you may want to lightly till them with a hoe.  This will help cut back on weeds and also aerate the soil.  However, be careful not to till up areas where perennials are planted.  (I accidentally tilled up a hosta last fall.  That little guy was very unhappy with me this summer.)

Leaf Mulch
The final step in getting your flower beds ready for winter is mulch.  Mulching will help guard against weed growth and it will also break down during the winter to add nutrients to the soil.  I like to either use regular mulch or leaves.  Leaves make a wonderful choice.  To keep them from blowing away, I recommend chopping them up with a mower.

In closing, following these steps will help keep your beds looking tidy during the winter, and it will also make planting easier in the spring.  The only other recommendation that I can make is to plant some pansies for a splash of color this fall and in the early spring.