Winter doesn’t have to be a slack time for the gardener; it leaves time for those things we run out of time for in the growing season. You have time to tidy up, clean up some more leaves (assuming they are not snow covered), mulch and tend to some tools.
For those of us who haven’t quite completed all of falls chores, there are always more leaves or nuts or sticks or something to pick up. This tends to continue as the wind blows stronger and longer during the cooler months, bringing down a continual rain of sticks. If you take a look around your lawn area and planting beds I’m sure there are quite a number of items you would like to clean up.
Now there are some who will mulch their leaves and put them in the beds, and that is a good thing unless you are dealing with the very large oak leaves. They take a long time to decompose as they are fairly large and leathery, so it’s better to use the maple and other smaller varietals leaves for mulching your beds. If the volume of leaves is too overwhelming there are always landscape professionals who can come to your property and help you out.
Another chore is cleaning up the perennial plant remnants that are now brown and brittle sticking up everywhere. It is alright to cut down these stems and tidy up whatever dead leaves might be left, it is not harmful for the plant as it is still alive, just sleeping, under the soil during the cold weather. Some of the perennials such as Black Eyed Susan’s and Echinacea, also known as Purple Coneflowers, do contain seeds within the dead seed heads which provides some winter nourishment for the birds. So if you don’t mind a look that is a little messier it’s nice to leave those for our flying friends.
Anytime of the year is a good time to add mulch to your landscaping beds. Having additional mulch in winter helps keep plants from coming up too soon by providing more insulation. It also is a much easier time to lay it down when you don’t have to work around plants which are up and growing. Of course this also makes the beds look much more attractive and helps move the eye through the garden.It’s also a good time to clean up your tools, shovels, pruners and such, so that they will last a long time and provide good service.