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Oct 1, 2022 2:57 PM CST
Lindenhurst, IL
How to prepare Perennial bed for winter
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Oct 1, 2022 6:24 PM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL โ˜ผ๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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After frost causes everything to go dormant, rake all of your leaves onto it, or up to about 18", if you have more leaves than that.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try! Try to be more valuable than a bad example.
Avatar for Parkiebob
Oct 1, 2022 7:13 PM CST
Lindenhurst, IL
Thank you.
Should you also cut down to 1-2", cover with mulch
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Oct 2, 2022 12:22 PM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
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If using bagged mulch, like shredded o r chipped bark/wood, don't pile directly on the center of the plant. Just around.
Someone else asked about cutting them down or leaving- there are kind of two schools of thought on that.
The thread "large perennials" in Ask a Question forum
Plant it and they will come.
Last edited by sallyg Oct 2, 2022 12:24 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 2, 2022 3:33 PM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
Feel that it depends on things like where the perennial bed is located, what perennials are involved, the overall planting and various other personal choice made by the gardener.

Personally, my perennial beds include earlier spring bulbs and a lot of low- and spring-flowering perennials, I'd rather see soil than mulch before closely spaced perennials take off in the growing season, I like tidy perennial beds and I'm also focused on not allowing disease organisms, that affect later blooming perennials, to overwinter in detritus at the soil surface.
(e.g. the following spring (May 16, 22)
Thumb of 2022-10-02/SunnyBorders/0ee595
Last edited by SunnyBorders Oct 2, 2022 3:37 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 2, 2022 5:56 PM CST
Name: Zoรซ
Albuquerque NM, Elev 5310 ft (Zone 7b)
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Region: New Mexico Salvias Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Welcome! Parkiebob
There are too many variables to give you one simple answer. Location, climate, weather and soil type all play roles in overwinter careโ€”and most of all, the plants themselves.

"Perennials" is a very wide category. Woody vs herbaceous perennials like lavender and, say, Shasta daisies are treated differently. Also, much of how gardeners treat their winter gardens depends on what has worked for them in the past and sometimes just boils down to taste and preference.

Perhaps you could give us more specific information about what you're growing and other factors and we can provide more specific advice..
For me, gardening is really just an excuse for playing in the dirt. Admittedly, plants are a satisfying by-product.
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Oct 3, 2022 8:38 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL โ˜ผ๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
Garden Sages Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Hummingbirder Foliage Fan
Charlie, that's beautiful! I miss those plants. I had scenes like that in OH, but I don't think the plants in your pic can handle AL summers.

I was assuming plants that go dormant, and maybe the base of some woody shrubs. I've always raked leaves onto beds, in OH, and now in AL. When I lived in OH, people put their leaves in bags and I would bring back load after load and pile them up to waist high on beds. By spring, they are gone, if your soil has worms in it. I've never had any plant diseases that I'm aware.

It's similar to how people build wire cages around little trees and fill them with leaves if they are trying to cheat zones.

The insulation of the leaves helps prevent heaving (important if your soil freezes) and unnecessary losses of marginally hardy plants and not-yet-well-established plants, and their contribution to the soil is really incredible. I was shocked the first time I did it, from the encouragement of other gardeners. The change in the soil was like a miracle.

It might be OK to leave soil bare in Canada, but in OH it would be too muddy, and in AL, it will turn into concrete, then wash out if it rains hard, followed by a solid cover of some kind of weed. There's something that sprouts about every month here.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try! Try to be more valuable than a bad example.
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Oct 4, 2022 1:35 PM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
Interested to read your comments, Tiffany.

As you say the growing conditions here are very different from Alabama. In later fall the ground gradually freezes, top down, and things, at the surface, end with a snow cover. No weeding at all!

I'm a bit of a neat freak myself, but a friend of mine, here, did spread four or so inches of wet, mostly maple, leaves, each fall over one section of his garden and said it took something like seven years for the population of worms to drag in all down. Adding organic matter to the soil is a bit more costly the way I do it. David did, however, only spread wet leaves in the section of his garden which contained summer/fall blooming herbaceous perennials. There, he left some stem on the perennials in order to keep leaves in place and to support the stems of perennials coming up in the next growing season.

Over the years, I've learned a huge amount from experienced perennial gardeners, but have to admit that I also learned a lot simply through trial and error. Of course, some mistakes were easier to correct than others!
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Oct 4, 2022 3:58 PM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL โ˜ผ๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
Garden Sages Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Hummingbirder Foliage Fan
Thank you, Charlie. I've had many snowy winters living & gardening in Z5 for close to 40 yrs before moving to AL. For about 5 months, there was no outside gardening for me. It's kind of opposite where I am now, but for the months when I don't do anything, that's when the hot weather plants are blooming. So there are pics to take, occasional bouquet to cut for a friend or to bring to work, and I can't pull weeds because ants will attack me. I'm still getting used to it after more than a decade.

Maple leaves are probably my fav but I've never tried to move them around when they were wet. I would wonder if that could cause them to mat together, airlessly? Without air, they would decompose more slowly I bet. That seems to be a thing, from what I've seen.

The only $ I've ever spent on soil was to buy mulch. I'd call myself a neat freak too, in a sense that I'm thorough about trying to move available organic matter once, and into a spot where it can benefit something that is growing as part of the mulchy layer protecting the soil, and whatever comprised its essence can be given back to the soil to be used by whatever grows next. I no longer need a maddock to dig in my cultivated areas. It's a pretty amazing transformation, where cars used to park as recently as 8 years ago. There is no addition of organic matter to the soil that I've ever declared a mistake. All of it decomposes into the soil. I did this in several gardens in OH, and in 3 locations here in AL, so it's been fun to see that the same thing that can transform solid clay in OH can also make the same transformation on the sand + just enough clay to make concrete, in AL.

But I have definitely bought plants that didn't like the conditions I have available to offer, and I'm sure in some cases I did something I shouldn't have and messed some of 'em up, but that's under the heading of conditions I have available to offer. I can offer minor spot-watering but otherwise, plants in the ground are pretty much on their own.

I don't buy products to mess with the plants or the soil, except some fertilizer for potted plants. I just put what I like in the ground and let the plants decide to live or die. It's a lot of fun seeing which ones choose to live @ my house, and I'm about out of space without reclaiming (from mowing) some new areas. Most of my plants are there for hummingbirds and butterflies. All I can do during the hottest months is wade through the humidity as I go in and out but those amazing critters have to live out there.

Naturally decisions will vary among gardeners because the end goals are not identical. The amount of time and energy varies among individuals, and so many other variables. I'm happy to share what I've done and seen for whatever value it may have for those who feel like it relates to what they have chosen to do, or would like to do.

I also enjoy reading about radically different things people are doing and rarely mentally think they are making a mistake. They are dealing with their specific conditions. When others say how the same thing would work differently in their different conditions, everyone can benefit from thinking about that.

Since I don't spend any $ on any products, I can't join those parts of a discussion, but I have experience changing & improving the soil with only the organic matter generated by a small yard and kitchen.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try! Try to be more valuable than a bad example.
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Oct 5, 2022 7:47 AM CST
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Maintenance of Perennial Beds.
Interested to read about your gardening approaches/experiences, Tiffany.
Looks like, as per me too, perennial gardening is a longterm learning project.
You have to do it, to try out and find out, what works both for your location and your tastes.
And then, at least the way I do perennial garden, it's maintenance of mixed perennial beds, over multiple years,
which becomes the challenge.
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