Olbrich Home Blooming Butterflies

Putting Your Garden to Bed

by samantha peckham, Horticulturist

At Olbrich we think of fall as "bedtime" for our garden. By preparing or "putting your garden to bed" in fall, you will have a much healthier garden next spring.

You can begin by removing all the spent annuals and vegetables from your garden. This will help to eliminate the potential for diseases, molds, and fungus that may carry over in the plants next spring. Fall is also a great time to assess your annuals, and perhaps make note of any changes you would like to make next year.

Once you have removed all your annuals, move on to the perennials. Many perennials can be left up for the winter. These will provide wonderful winter interest, and they will become a food source and habitat for birds and other wildlife.

If you would like to cut back your perennials, wait until we've had a few killing frosts. If you cut them back too early the plants may put on new growth, which will pull nutrients from the roots and possibly cause the plant to die during the winter.

Don't forget to water! Many plants, especially evergreens, can dry out over the course of the winter. This can be easily prevented by running a soaker hose near the  bases of evergreens, trees, and shrubs, allowing water to slowly soak into the ground.

Last, but not least, remember to clean up your garden: rake leaves, remove diseased plant material, cover tender perennials, and mulch!

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Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719