Winter is peeking around the corner and ready to cast a frost across the garden you’ve carefully cultivated all spring and summer. The gardening pros from the Chicago Flower & Garden show have shared some tips with us to help prepare our garden for winter.
1. Continue to water your plants and lawns in the fall, as we tend not to have the rainfall in the fall that we do in the main gowning months. Plants need to stay hydrated just like humans .This allows the plants to properly retreat to their winter states.
2. Remove annuals from flower beds and add them to compost.
3. Clean up planting beds and prepare them for spring plantings. Make sure you remove this year’s annuals and turn the soil. It will make it easier to turn the soil in the spring.
4. Think about having your soil tested now so you can add things to amend it for healthier soil in the spring.
5. Split and replant perennials and /or share them with friends.
6. When removing summer bulbs such as dahlias and gladiolus, plant spring bulbs in their place such as tulips and daffodils.
7. Consider planting bulbs in different directions to naturally delay their bloom time and stagger blooms for a longer season. For example, plant the lowest layer on its side to the right, the next on its side to the left, and the final upright.
8. When raking leaves, shred them before making compost layers with them or using them as mulch. It helps the layer of leaves to decompose more quickly, and in using them as mulch, it allows the soil to breathe better.
9. Using leaves to protect perennials and shrubs planted late in the season can help them if the winter is harsh.
10. Prepare pots on your porches for fall plantings. Consider removing everything and cleaning your pots before planting fall items. At the end of the fall season, cut off plants and add holiday greens and branches before the pots freeze and it becomes too difficult to insert the pine and branches.
If you’ve got a green thumb and are in the Midwest you should definitely make a trip to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show which starts Saturday, Mar. 5, through Sunday, Mar. 13.
Tickets can be purchased online now at www.chicagoflower.com or at the door. There is no service charge when ordering online. Adult tickets are $15 on weekdays and $17 on weekends. Tickets for children aged 12 and younger are $5 every day.