The Q&A Archives: Cold Weather Gardening

Question: I have lived in South Florida my entire life. I am now living in Norway and have no idea about gardening in cold weather. I would like to know if I need to clip my Hostas and lavender plants all the way to the ground when the ground gets cold, or do I leave them as is? Also can you recommend a good book on gardenng in cold weather.

Answer: That's quite a move you've made! Though the weather is cooler, your summer days are much longer, so you can still grow a wide range of plants successfully in such a climate. Your hardiness zone falls somewhere around 4 or 5, which is pretty mild for being that far north! Most of Vermont is in Zone 4, with quite a bit of Zone 3, and only tiny pockets of Zone 5! Lavender is hardy only to Zone 5, but most hosta is hardy even to zone 3. Harvest any lavender you plan to use when the flower buds are about to open, but leave the cutting back til spring. Snow actually insulates the plants' crowns from severe cold. You can trim back blossom stalks of hosta, but the leaves can stay intact. As for books on gardening in your climate, consult a local bookstore or gardening club for one that will be most helpful in your situation.

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