Much of Connecticut awoke this morning to snow falling from the sky and sticking to the ground. It’s November 8. Unlike more northern New England states, most of Connecticut usually remains snow-free until December or at the earliest, Thanksgiving.
I get it, Mom Nature. At any time now Old Man Winter could drop in for a few month’s stay.
This visit was short-lived, our 1/2 inch of snow melted by noon. Northern regions of New England had a much heavier snowfall.
Fortunately, the rest of this week is supposed to be conducive to outdoor work without having to wear layers of clothing to stay warm. I plan to take full advantage by completing some garden chores.
Outdoor potted plants have been relegated to the compost pile, any herbs not nipped by earlier frosts are harvested, and bird baths are emptied and overturned so they don’t freeze and crack during winter months. Tender plants (tropical hibiscus, scented geranium, rosemary, coleus) have been comfortably residing inside for more than a month. Just this weekend, a potted fig tree and some potted gerbera daisy plants found their winter home in a bright garage window.
But many tasks remain on my to-do list including:
- Rake heavy leaf piles off the perennial beds to shred with the mower. Shredded leaves go into the compost pile or their own bin, saved for winter compost additions or for supplement mulch. Whatever isn’t used will turn into soil-enhancing leaf mold.
- Cut back spent perennials such as peony, iris, and day lily, to prevent any diseased leaves from overwintering in place and causing damage next spring.
- Prune tall buddleia shrubs (butterfly bush) back to 6 to 12 inches from the ground. Buddleia can be nuisance self-sowers if left unpruned.
- Clean morning glory vines off their trellises. Spread matured morning glory seeds where I want volunteer vines next spring.
- Deadhead miscanthus grasses to prevent self-sowing. I usually leave the grass fronds in place all winter – tying up the floppier bunches so they look like tied bundles of wheat. I cut the seed tops off so I don’t find a bunch of miscanthus volunteers sprouting up in far-off unwanted locations.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses so gnawing rodent teeth and winter freezes don’t cause damage.
- Enclose evergreen shrubs (azalea, rhododendron, holly) with chicken wire fencing. I use fencing 4 ft tall fencing placed about 2-3 feet from the shrubs to keep deer from browsing my foundation plantings. This creates an area between the fence and the house that is too small for deer to jump into. The fencing is sturdy and set far enough from the shrubs so deer have trouble pushing it inward in hopes of nibbling at the green leaves. When labeled and stored in rolled-up sections, the fencing can be reused many years.
- Rake leaves and millions of acorns off the lawn. The leaves get piled or shredded for future use. The acorns get raked into the edge of the woods where deer, chipmunks, and squirrels can enjoy them without being tempted to also enjoy the green nibbles remaining in my gardens.
- Put in a late order for spring blooming bulbs and hope my Connecticut-based supplier, http://www.johnscheepers.com/, gets them to me quickly. I want to plant them next weekend.
- Set up any hangers/posts for winter bird feeding.
Have I forgotten anything? Probably.