Putting the Garden to Bed -Winter 2017

by: Hilary Newell

As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, my thoughts begin to shift toward winter activities, planning some travel and getting some household renovations done. But before we can move forward, we take time to assess the outdoor part of our property.

Nantucket’s superior fall weather affords us ample time to move and plant things in the garden. Last New Year’s Day even saw us outside planting the last of the daffodil bulbs. As long as the ground is not frozen, you can still do a lot, and there’s usually plenty to do. Cooler-weather gardening is appealing and sometimes we need to curb our enthusiasm or get carried away making plans for new garden beds and planting when it seems that anything is possible. With that in mind, this article carries reminders as much to myself as to the reader.

Do catch up on putting your garden to bed. If your perennials have not been cut back, now is the time. Some of the things I often don’t cut back, however, are grasses with mature seed heads. These provide a lot of winter interest and food for the birds. A light snow on top of a mound of dried grass is photo-worthy, and if a bird is perched there, eating, it’s even better.

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