Preparing your Flower Beds for Winter


Over the past spring and summer, many experienced and novice gardeners were blessed with the opportunity to spend more time honing our skills and making our gardens into something beautiful – allowing a distraction from the worry and fear that 2020 has been. But like all things, the blooming flowers that have occupied many a summer’s day must soon come to an end. Fall is here, and with it comes the cooler temperatures that slow down the activity of the garden beds that were full and flourishing only weeks ago. While tucking our gardens away for winter is an inevitable step for gardeners in southern Ontario, it is important to take the right measures to ensure that the work that went into our projects this year doesn’t go to waste. Here are some ways to prepare your garden for a typically long, cold, Ottawa winter. 

Remove your Annuals

A crucial step in preparing your garden for winter is to remove all of your annual plants, such as petunias, marigolds, and impatiens. Not only will this help to improve your garden’s health by eliminating any extra risk for pests and diseases that come with the overwintering of decaying plants, but it also helps with weed control. One risk we take with leaving dying annuals to rot in the garden bed throughout the winter is having their seed heads sprout to become next year’s volunteer weeds. By taking a proactive approach, you can eliminate the potential risk to your garden, and spend significantly less time pulling out weeds while maintaining your garden throughout the following summer.    

Perennial Care

Once the fall season hits, it is time to dig out and separate any overgrown perennials. Not only do these plants risk becoming a visual eyesore, and a nightmare to dig up if left unkept, but they also become more susceptible to disease and insect infestations if not properly maintained. Once the plants have been divided up, use what you need to transplant and fill any empty spaces within the garden for a fuller appearance next summer. Additionally, ensure that their foliage and stems are cut back as they die off in the late fall; Many perennials can grow quite large, and ensuring any dead ends and leaves are removed prior to old man winters grand entrance will do wonders for your spring garden preparation while keeping a tidy appearance year-round.   

Remove Invasive Weeds

Once your flower beds have been cleared out, trimmed and pruned, it’s time to begin attacking those pesky, invasive weeds. Without taking action against weeds in the fall, they come back bigger and stronger the following year. Just like annuals, the seed heads of weeds that are left in the garden throughout the winter become planted in the ground, only to show their vicious vines and wicked ways come spring and summer. Also, by leaving weeds untouched, they begin to feed on the nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus that are needed by perennials to ensure healthy strong growth and big, beautiful blooms.   

Mulch Away!

Before you finish with your garden for winter, add a final layer of mulching to your soil. While many gardeners put most of the importance and effort into a spring mulching, the fall mulching is just as much, if not more important. This step will help to reduce or eliminate any of the aforementioned pesky weeds that may be looking to poke their heads out next season, saving you from countless hours of maintenance. By leaving the soil in your flower beds bare, not only will they be susceptible to drifting unwanted seeds, but also at risk for damaging roots of perennial plants, and losing out on the minerals and nutrients that the top layer of soil provides. Adding a 3 to 4 inch-thick coat of protective mulch is the most effective way to protect your flower beds in the winter.  With all the work put into making your flower beds beautiful throughout the warmer months, it would be a shame to let old man winter leave its damage. Make sure you set ample time aside to prepare your gardens properly for the upcoming frost and snow before any of your plants become overwintered and threaten your garden. With the protective measures above implemented into your fall gardening routine, you are sure to see healthy soil and a beautiful blank slate for your garden beds come springtime.

Royal LePage Team Realty

12B-6081 Hazeldean Road

Stittsville, ON

K2S 1B9

Toll Free: 1-800-307-1545

Direct: 613.406.2218

Office: 613.831.9287

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