Looking Ahead | A Note from Bridge Gardens

December 11, 2023

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

Even though we’re still enjoying harvests of arugula, spinach, kale and cilantro, the growing season is definitely over.

We leave crops like those in the garden to see if they’ll overwinter. We cover spinach rows with frost blankets toward the end of the month when it’s colder or when the ground freezes to ensure an early spring harvest.


Row covers protect the vegetable garden in colder weather

While the growing season is over, that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a lot to do. We continue to cut back the gardens gradually. We’ll leave some areas, like oak-hickory woods, the meadow under the rose arbors or that planting of ultra-sturdy ‘Shenandoah’ switch grass until late winter.

Leaves still occupy much of our time. Some we rake or blow to the margins, some we compost, some we cover with mulch, some we allow to remain where they fell. This year, we’ve also been collecting them on the lawns and then mowing with the mulching mower. The small pieces of leaves are evenly dispersed among the blades of grass and will act as fertilizer and soil conditioner as they decompose.

Soon, we’ll begin edging the vegetable gardens and other beds and there’s always more pruning to do.

The last big project of every year is mulching the roses in the Rose Garden. After spraying with horticultural oil to smother any remnant black spot spores, we’ll cover each rose with a thick layer of bark mulch to protect its crown from cold damage.


Getting ready to mulch the roses

Just as there’s still much to do, there’s still much to see at Bridge Gardens. Evergreens stand out this time of year. The tall white pines along the southern border, the many eastern red cedars, the American hollies near the Garden House, the ‘Yuleberry’ hollies here and there, the tardily deciduous bayberries, all are worth seeing and enjoying on your next visit.

Remember, we’re open every day year-round, with free admission. Winter hours begin on the solstice, 10 AM – 3PM. See you soon!

~~~ Rick

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