Tips To Winterize Your Flower Garden
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
I know what you’re thinking: it’s not even close to winter yet! But we are approaching the time when we need to start making plans to put our gardens to rest so that they are in good shape for the next growing season. A little work now can make your spring go much smoother.
Wait until after the first frost
It’s September in Edmonton, so that can be any day. It’s always best to start your winterizing after the first frost, as this is typically what signals to perennials that they should go dormant. This means it’s safe to start cutting back anything that you want to cut back (more on that later).
I know I just talked about plants going dormant, but it’s still important to give them a good watering before you winterize. Especially if we have low moisture in the winter as we did in the summer, this will help your perennials survive in the cold months ahead. Keep watering until the ground freezes.
There is one other great reason to water your plants right now – it makes it easier to pull the weeds.
You’ve been doing it all summer long, and you’re probably tired of it. However, now is an important time to do one last thorough weeding. After you are done harvesting any last flowers or vegetables, you’ll be able to spot weeds you didn’t before, and it’s often easier to pull the mature roots out whole (especially if you watered before as I suggested!).
This is also the time to pull out any annuals, invasive or diseased plants, plants that you noticed were infested with bugs or didn’t grow. Pulling them out now will help to stop the spread of any issues that will affect your garden next spring.
Compost and mulch
Now is a great time to amend your soil (always best to test it first) with compost and then add some mulch to any tender perennials to protect them from the extreme temperatures and drought and give the soil around a boost of slow-release nutrients. This is especially important for new plants that haven’t had time to develop an extensive root system yet.
Plant your bulbs
Already dreaming of the next time things start to warm up and everything feels new? Now is a great time to plan for bursts of spring colour by planting your bulbs. Mid to late September is the perfect time to plant bulbs like tulips, because they have some time to take in nutrients and establish their roots before the ground freezes. For tulips and daffodils, dig about 6-8” into the earth with a trowel and drop them in, sharp side up. For other hardy bulbs, 2-3” (or some say 3 times the width of the bulb) will do.