With the right protection and pruning your perennials can make it through safely through the winter.
Before Christmas we prepared the plants for the frosts and cold weather which may well come nearer the end of the winter. We mulched the dahlias with gladioli planted in between, with a 30 cm layer of compost, a layer of horticultural fleece and then a layer of mypex. In the past I have used straw but I am hoping to save the job of removing the straw in the spring and just let the dahlias push up through the mulch.
After the recent wind and rain we have had in the southeast the plot is looking pretty boggy. The polytunnel blew down on 23rd December but it is now back up with help from some lovely friends and brothers – Thank you! The irises, ranunculus, anemones, ixia and hyacinths can relax.
When I’m thinking about hardy plants through the winter, I imagine a woodland where the fallen leaves create a blanket for the spring plants to push up through.
For most of the perennials like achillea, agastache, echinacea I have left the dead stems to protect the roots from the cold. The stems also provide homes for lots of insects and their larvae to over winter. Crocosmia leaves are left lying on the ground as a blanket; we will give them a good mulch over the top of the leaves and let the new shoots push up through.
We have cut the buddleia down by half to prevent them getting blown about by the wind and will prune in March after the worst of the frosts.
Any bare ground I have mulched and covered with mypex so it is ready and weed free for planting out annuals in the spring.
To combat the post Christmas blues I have followed my late Norwegian grandma’s example. I have cut a couple of stems of pussy willow and forsythia and brought them into the warm. In a few days they blossom and brighten up the sitting room.
Happy over wintering