Field of Science

Putting the gardens to bed for the winter

Since the leaf elves have come and gone, and some hard freezing temperatures are on their way, only a few more things need to be done to finish up the fall gardening. The fountain pond must be emptied and covered for the winter. The lily pond still needs to be de-leafed by removing the leaf catching net and sucking up the leaves around the margins. Then the filter system and cascade pump will be turned off for the winter and drained. The compressor keeps going. Some beds will need to be mulched with the chopped leaves left by the elves. Some herbs will be harvested for later use, and the parsley will be mulched. Some beds, for example all the rhododendrons still need to be fenced to keep the bun-buns from girdling their stems. Same too with various shrubs here and there; this chore is almost done as many cages are in place simply transferring them from delicious herbaceous perennials to equally delicious shrubs. Such is life with a wildlife friendly property. Some foxes have been seen and the bun-buns seem a bit less frequent, but the spring will start with woodchuck in place that wouldn't cooperate with our relocation plan. Lastly if the weather cooperates because you need a mild day but after when you are pretty sure no more warm days will occur to spray a protective wax coating on broad leaf evergreens to limit winter desiccation, and it you didn't know this before, hear me now, the most damaging aspect of winter is how dry it is. In particular this spray protects rhododendrons and mountain laurels and others of a similar nature. This is one of those practices that TPP wishes he had better data on; it seems to work, but it is a tad expensive, just not nearly as expensive as replacing big old shrubs. As an additional hint, the Phactors usually buy their holiday tree at the end of November when they show up, put them in a bucket of water, and then spray them with the waxy spray to reduce transpiration and needle drop; this certainly works. Remember, those cut trees don't get any fresher. 

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