The weather has definitely taken a turn to be more fall-like, hasn’t it? Now is the time for us to clear off our gardens, empty our pots and plant up the new perennials or shrubs that we may want to add to our gardens! Thank you to everyone who bought plants at our plant sale last week: we always appreciate your support! And it’s always a pleasure to chat with other gardeners. Also, a special thank you to everyone who contributed plants for the sale, including our great members and very kind gardening friends who aren’t members of the hort society; to everyone who helped to set up and take down, and to everyone who worked at the sale. This project wouldn’t happen without you: thank you!
In recent weeks, I was lucky enough to find a real treasure at a garage sale: a collection of gardening books, The Time Life Encyclopedia of Gardening. The set was in pristine condition, and I was so excited to find such a delight! They cover a variety of topics, but as I’m sitting here with you, I have the volume entitled “Winter Gardens” sitting in front of me.
“Winter Gardens”. Doesn’t that sound intriguing? The first chapter is called “Pleasures and Perils of the Fourth Season”. I can tell that the author is speaking about gardens in milder climes than ours, but there are some good points about how a garden can look very beautiful in the winter, with the structural shape of the tree trunks, branches and evergreens against the soft blanket of snow.
Chapter Two is called “Getting The Garden Ready For Rest”, and here is where there is some good practical information for us. The first point made was that plans do no suffer as much from the cold as they do from the temperature of the soil freezing and thawing. Another culprit is the winter sun and the wind, which remove moisture from the plant faster than the plant can replace it.
As we enter the autumn season, our plants are beginning to slow their growth to prepare for winter. The book advises at we don’t fertilize our plants now, because we don’t want to stimulate new growth at a time when he plant is getting ready to go to sleep. We are advised not to prune except to remove diseased or dead wood, because pruning will also stimulate the plant to work harder and grow new branches. This new growth will be too tender to handle a tough prairie winter.
Are you looking at your perennials? You can trim them down for winter, but leave the stems that have seed-heads, because these will add beauty to your winter garden and attract birds. If you want to divide your perennials, now is the time! If they are quite crowded, they will benefit from dividing, and thank you in the spring with renewed, healthier growth.
And here’s an interesting little factoid! Did you realize that light and air still go through the snow to our plants? The book says that “a layer of dry, fluffy snow may contain as much as 97 per cent air”, and the light that filters through the snow helps the plants continue with photosynthesis. That’s why those very early blooming bulbs like snowdrops can wondrously come through the snow in the spring! Who knew?
The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society will have their next meeting on Thursday, October 17 at 7 p.m. in the Sunshine Room at SIGN on North Street. This is our “member involvement” meeting, with dozens of helpful hints from our members to make ours grow!
Hope you can be there! Good luck with your fall work and have a good week!