A Note From Rick | There’s still time to enjoy your garden in December

December 10, 2021

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

The end of this growing season has been seasonably cold, but with few hard frosts, meaning many plants are staying green longer than usual. So, we’re continuing to cut back and clean up beds and gardens and hope to finish before weather takes a turn for the worse.


Driveway bed is mulched to protect new plantings

Most leaves have fallen, so we’re raking and blowing less and letting more leaves just lay where they’ve fallen. Occasionally, we cover them with mulch to hasten decay and with the help of earthworms, add organic matter to the soil. Mulching beds now, especially those with spring bulbs, is a good way to get a jump on next season.


Mulch beds with bulbs before leaves get too tall

We’ve mowed the orchard and the low-mow area behind the rose garden for the first time this year. Mowing now deprives voles and other rodents of winter homes and places to hide and makes these pests easier for predators to find.

Late fall and winter are good times for pruning. Access is easier without leaves and it’s easier to see what needs to be pruned. Fruit trees, most flowering shrubs and trees all benefit from dormant pruning and that includes removing dead wood, spent flower heads and crossing branches, reducing size, raising canopies and improving plant structure. If you’re planning any major tree work, now is a great time to consult with arborists.


Inspecting "cones" on our Green Giant arborvitae

Toward the end of the month, we’ll winterize the roses by covering their crowns and lower branches with piles of mulch. Before we do, we’ll spray plants and bed surfaces with dormant oil to discourage black spot and prune any extra-long canes so they don’t twist and break in heavy winds.

If you visit now, you’ll notice some flowering plants and herbs offering delightful color and usefulness in early December. However, it’s best to harvest sage and most herbs in the summer.

We are gratified still to see so many visitors in the gardens at this time of year. Many come for a short constitutional to sit in the golden glow of the afternoon’s low-hanging sun. Hoping to see you, too, in the gardens soon and with best wishes for the holidays,

~~ Rick

P.S. We had sad news recently with the sudden death of Jeffrey Glick. Jeffrey was a community gardener, a kind, caring, generous man both in his professional life and as a friend. He will be missed very much.

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