What can be more delightful than drinking your morning coffee on the porch of your house, surrounded by red bushes of roses and a magnificent landscape, in a summer day? When we think of our home, we often think of a place we enjoy being in. However, when winter comes, the corner of paradise that is our garden can easily turn into havoc if we don’t follow a few easy steps to preserve it.
We have to take care of our lawn and garden if we want to see it regaining its vitality back in spring. The small plants should be covered by plastic pots and the shrubs should be rapped in burlap. The grass should receive special attention! Its length does count, because if the grass is too short the cold can reach the roots, the blades can get mold or disease. So, when the grass stops growing, stop cutting it! A common mistake is letting the leaves on the grass. The grass needs air and light and, moreover, the leaves may cause mold and disease, too.
The first thing specialists advise us to do in order to keep the garden safe is to spread the mulch in fall, because it helps protect the roots from frost and helps them to retain the moisture during the long winter. Don’t prune during the fall! This seems to be the most common mistake gardeners do, but pruning encourages growth when the plants should remain dormant.
Besides this tips, gardeners should know that there are some great design plants just perfect for the winter landscape. Thus, the coming of winter doesn’t necessarily mean lack of plants ad flowers. All you have to do is to start appreciate the beauty of the winter garden. Even without snow, there is stark beauty in it. Hoarfrost, or frozen dew transforms plants into lace. Grasses, such as the native switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) are amazing when coated with hoarfrost.
Decorative flowering cabbage or kale will work wonders in any winter garden! Their oversize rosette or leafy heads in shades of white, cream, red and purple will bring your garden back to life. Grow them just as you would their edible cousins, either in the garden or in containers, and don’t worry as the colder weather approaches. They only look better with a touch of frost, as it brings out their color. Set your plants about 1½ ft apart in the garden or add them to containers after the hot weather cools; lightly fertilize throughout the garden season. If you're planting them in the garden, choose a new spot each year, as soil diseases can be a problem. As a plus, while these are “flowering” varieties, their leaves are edible.
Ornamental grasses can also revive the landscape. When the grasses dry in autumn, they will remain tall stalwarts of the winter garden, even under a cover of snow. Simply cut them down to the ground in spring, and the display will start all over again. Some of the most common ornamental grasses are: Indian grass ( Sorghastrum nutans), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) , prairie dropseed ( Sporobulos heterolepsis) or big bluestem ( Andropogon gerardii). Redtwig dogwoods (Cornus sericea), evergreen trees and shrubs, and winter-hardy grasses, such as feather reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora), are favorites for the winter landscape.
Berries are another wonderful feature in the winter garden. Many are perfect for bringing inside for decorating during the holidays. When choosing shrubs for their colorful winter berries, consider Holly for red berries, Beautyberry for purple or white berries and Pyracantha for orange and red berries. Winterberry is a deciduous North American shrub that's adaptable, easy to grow and one of the best for cold-weather conditions. It's also disease resistant and trouble free, and makes a good alternative to spirea or Japanese barberry (which can be invasive).
All in all, when developing your garden, think about how it will manifest itself in both the summer and the winter, and choose plants for both seasons! Thus, you won’t have to wait the summer to admire your garden!