Thursday, January 4, 2018

How to Winterize and Protect Your Garden

Winterizing your garden  is fairly easy to do and should be done whenever the temperatures will drop to or below
32 degrees Fahrenheit/0 degrees Celsius
in your geographic area.

Not the prettiest pictures but you might like my
crazy ingenuity here with the towels!

This was probably taken in January/February when my mandarin oranges were ready to eat.  The rose in the urn was just putting out leaves so this could even be late February/early March.  Hard to tell... Southern California has weird winters
with a lot of Santa Ana warm spells kicking in that cause plants to come out of hibernation early.

When it was just getting down to 32 degrees here
in North Texas this year in late October into November
I began wrapping my plants in beach towels at sundown.
This is the same thing I did to the potted plants we
kept out on our back patio in California as those were the
only ones which were really exposed to tougher winds and
cold weather each year.

Each winter I would move the plants over on the patio table on the right over to the left of the front doors ~ just beyond far left in this photograph.  Here I was in the middle of repotting the big overgrown ivy into these twin garage sale lion pots and creating a second ivy topiary with a bunch of cuttings.

Tip #1 - Use your clothes dryer

The plants out-front at our last house were underneath
a large covered front porch and they seemed to
do pretty well there ~ it helped that our dryer vent was
right there, too, and the two potted ivy plants
loved the warm air there!

It was  great trick to start the dryer at 5:00am getting
double the benefit of that heat as I'd have put in clothes
to wash the night before and in the early morning
that gentle warm air venting outside would be
just warm enough
to help keep the plants on the patio and in the
front planter bed from freezing.

Toweling around the back porch plants was
just enough protection to keep the dewy cold night air
off of those plants' leaves and off the tender canes of
the potted rose bushes to prevent them
from freezing.

Tip #2 - Use your old blankets and quilts

If you have any bouguainvillas or hydrangeas you'll want to
cover those with towels and/or blankets, too,
depending upon the size of the plants.
Each winter in California we had that one or two weeks
of temps down in the 20's and it would be enough to
freeze the oranges and ruin the whole crop.
Invariably the bouguainvilla would
always be blooming
at this time of year since we would have had these
misleadingly named warm "Santa Ana" winds
come in from the south and west which would
trick all of our plants into thinking that
spring had arrived.
These really warm dry winds would then be
fatally followed by freezing cold arctic winds
blowing down from Canada ~ never failed.
taking a little extra care with some old quilts
and a bunch of clothespins ~ covering all exposed leaves
branches and vines on these plants that are
subtropicals {do okay to 30 degrees}
really helped these plants to survive and thrive.

The roses  planted out in the yard I never covered but
would make sure to prune back their canes and strip
their leaves by late November/early December
or sometimes even as late as January
each year.
I wrote about pruning roses a few years ago
if you might need a few tips on
how to do so.

With nighttime temps dropping into the 20's here
from mid-December onwards more radical protection
was needed from the elements than where we came from
in So Cal.
A bag of wood shavings or bark is enough
to protect the plants themselves
plus those towels.

Rose bushes can stand pretty low temperatures but with
the windchill getting down to 0-degrees F. at night
the addition of the wood shavings really helps to keep
{that big bag of pine shavings you see lying on its side ~ adding an extra
wind break around my hydrangea and some of the potted violets.}
plants' roots and main bodies
from deep freezing.

Tips #3 - Winterizing roses in colder climates

In Southern California we were in the high desert areas in
growing Zone 10 according to Sunset Garden Magazines
guidelines.  Here in North Texas, our city of Sanger is
considered Zone 7 ~ quite a bit colder than
what I'm used to gardening in previously.

Pruning roses for areas even farther north
{Zone 6 and below}
which have temperatures dropping to less than
0-degrees F. each winter
you'll want to:

1. Cut your rose canes all the way down to 1/3 the
original height or even to the root ball.
Strip all leaves like normal, too.
{Don't worry as your rose will put out lovely new shoots next spring
when it preps for its late spring and summer showings.}

2. Bury your roses with bark or wood shavings
like I've done here and also pile dirt on top
of each bush.

3. With any roses but especially climbing roses,
strip the canes free of any leaves and bring the canes
down off of any structures.
Lay the canes down to the ground digging a trough
and then pile bark and dirt on top essentially
burying the bushes.

Uncover roses and tender bushes in the springtime in
these extreme growing areas only after the danger of
hard freezes is over for the winter season.

You can see the crepe myrtle here snugged up against the cold.

Around the camp there are a number of crepe myrtle
bushes and trees so I knew my baby one would do alright
if I just coddled its base with shavings and a towel.

On days when its warm or at least the sun is shining
I've been unwrapping my plants to let them synthesize
chlorophyll and do what they do naturally.

Tip #4 - Water regularly if no rain

Do remember to water your plants in winter when there
are drought conditions as this helps roses and all plants
deal better with freezing temperatures.

Native plants  tolerate extreme temperatures
well and better than ornamental plants do
{my usual plants and probably a lot of your plants, too. ;)}
as you can see in these bushes planted
by the park's pool area.

Well, I hope this little guide will help
you with winterizing your gardens.

Next - I'll be talking about winterizing your RV ~
the joys and experiences we've gone through just
this past week and over the last two years of
living the RV life.

Sharing with
Wow Us Wednesday ~ Savvy Southern Style
Talk of the Town ~ Love My Simple Home
Totally Terrific Tuesday ~ The Savvy Apron
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Friday Features ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl!


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Happy hugs to you,
Barb :)

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