Friday, December 3, 2010

Hosta Garden - Winter Tips

Autumn has been mild in comparison to last year.  Today the temperature was 63' and I took advantage of the mild weather and prepared my Hosta gardens for winter.  I started my day by hand removing all of the reaming leaf matter. 

 Many people leave the autumn leaves on the garden until spring as leaf matter is a good insulate for the plants.  I like the idea of using natural leaf mulch. The nutrients are good for the plants and the earth.  However, I found out the hard way that leaf mulch when applied to my garden heavily was not not good.

Last spring when I went out to remove the leaf matter I discovered that the leaf mulch had become a breeding ground for snakes and borers; two pests that I am not crazy about.  Therefore this year I recycled leaves for fine mulch for my lawn only and removed all of the leaves from my gardens.  

When I finished my task of removing all of the leaves and sticks I started hand pulling all of the weeds.  For stubborn rooted weeds I used my hand tools to dig them out.  I prefer to weed my gardens in the fall rather than spring, as I do not want to disturb the new spring bulb growth by weeding the garden. 

Note:  I do not add weeds to my compost instead I place them in trash bag and put them by the curb for trash removal.  

When the hand pull of the weeds was completed I applied one inch of compost by spreading it on top of the entire garden.  The compost is an excellent fertilizer for the crocus and daffodils that are planted in this three season garden .  

Next I applied three inches of Scott’s natural scapes advanced color enhanced classic black mulch.  Normally I prefer to use natural cypress mulch but this year I opted for the Scotts mulch.  The black organic mulch is a nice contrast to the flagstone and it also prevents weeds naturally as well it retains moisture with a guarantee that I will use 30% less water.  

Water conservation is important to me so I decided to try the color enhanced mulch. 
Scotts  Mulch and Liriope by Susan Golis
I prefer to apply the mulch by hand around the plants. Many people will open the bag of mulch and dump the contents on the garden and then raking it in place.  This is an easy and quick way to mulch a garden bed, however when you do that you will damage any plant life.  Yes it will grow back; you will have to cut off the damaged leaves and stems and the plant will suffer.

I prefer to take my time and apply the mulch by hand, gently setting the mulch around the plants so that there is no breakage.  In fact hand pulling of weeds and hand application of mulch is my specialty and I have obtained many garden contracts due to this skill. 

Every gardener excels in a specific area and mine is attention to detail.  I enjoyed my time in the garden today and I am satisfied with my feature garden. 


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