Since we’ve bought our home, we’ve poured quite a bit of time and money into re-doing our landscaping. (See the before-and-after of our back yard, here). Last winter, the polar vortex almost off’d our azalea bushes, but they’ve somehow managed to come back. They bloomed late in the summer and then took off growing at an amazing rate. The weatherman says this winter will be just as cold as last, so we took some precautionary steps to winter-proofing our plants this time around.
The plants I am most worried about are our hydrangea bushes. We planted them this past spring, and they didn’t grow very quickly. I’m worried for them because they are small and seemingly fragile.
Our property has many mature trees, including several oaks, and the number of leaves we have to rake each year is astounding. But it came in handy, because according to the inter-webs, oak leaves provide the perfect amount of insulation for hydrangea plants.
We bought a roll of garden fencing at Lowe’s for $19, which was the right height to create a fence around each of our bushes. We measured, cut, then set up, making sure each stake was deep enough in the ground that a sudden snowstorm wouldn’t knock it over. We then placed a bit of plant food in the ground, and then filled the fence with oak leaves for insulation. If doing this, be careful not to break the small branches of the plant as you push down on the leaves.
We also bought mulch and created what I’d like to call “mulch moats” around our other plants, to try to keep the roots from freezing. We dug a bit around each, careful not to uproot the plant, and laid mulch. Then we built up around the base of each plant, connecting the moat to the base. We’re hoping this provides enough insulation to keep the plants from freezing but also doesn’t trap water so they rot. Here’s to hoping! Our gardening knowledge thus far has been totally trial and error. If you have any tips, I’d be more than glad to hear them!