Cold Weather is Upon Us, Finishing Up For Winter

Second side begun and Elephant Ear plants removed for winter.

Getting Ready for the other side of the walkway

Getting Ready for the other side of the walkway

This may be the last weekend A Nerd In the Garden can actually garden. We’ve gotten cold weather this last weekend. Rain is one thing, a good raincoat will get you through but cold weather is quite another.

The last thing I need to do is prune the roses now that the weather has turned. I try not to prune the last bloom of the roses so that the plants can set fruit and get ready for winter. Then when I’m fairly certain they won’t start leafing out again I do a hard prune to get them ready for winter. I’ll do that and melt candle wax over the cut stems to keep the borers out.

One Side with Elephant Ear plants

One Side with Elephant Ear plants

It had been my intention never to buy a plant that would have to be dug up to winter over. However; I was looking at the growing instructions for the beautiful elephant ear plants I’d put in the side yard and to my dismay, discovered that they shouldn’t be out in weather colder than 50 degrees F. Eeek! It’s been high 40’s for the past couple of weeks at night and now about to get much colder.

So I had to race home from work and quickly, but carefully, dig them out of my garden. They are in buckets in the garage. I hope that stays just warm enough for them. I hesitate to bring them into the house proper but it may come to that.

This weekend I dug up the Crocosima Lucifer and moved the bulbs. That took a lot more work than I had anticipated. I only got 2 clumps done before I had to call it a day. There are at least 3 more clumps to be worked. I’ll just have to move them in the spring. There is still quite a bit of weeding to do too. I’m about 1/3 of the way done with the area I wanted to clear, so around 100 sq ft.

The raised beds for the vegetable garden are just about ready for winter. I wanted to put some landscaping fabric over them but I’m not sure I will.

Second side begun and Elephant Ear plants removed for winter.

Second side begun and Elephant Ear plants removed for winter.

With the Crocosima in place I was able to replant some of the bearded Iris I saved while cleaning the area out. I don’t know what colors are in the box but I know they’ll be beautiful. I’m kind of hoping for a peach one I had blooming in the area years ago is one of the ones that got saved.

Lastly I got started on the east side of the walkway border. I ran out of bricks to do the edging or I would have gone farther. In clearing off the brick walkway I discovered that the west side was around 6 inches to far south and didn’t come all the way up to meet the north edge. I debated leaving it but couldn’t. So I extended the channel a bit and slid each brick up to move the entire run the distance it needed to be flush with the patio.

crocosima bulbs dug, cleaned and ready to replant.

crocosima bulbs dug, cleaned and ready to replant.

Digging through cardboard to plant bulbs

Digging through cardboard to plant bulbs

Vegetable garden ready for winter

Vegetable garden ready for winter

A Nerd In The Garden: The Rains Have Come

After weeding for the day

Before weeding

Before weeding

This week the rainy season got started in ernest. It began with a day of spritzing and grew slightly heavier each day until we have a steady all day rain falling. It might be tempting to think it’s time to put the gardening tools away and relax but now is the perfect time to weed out the large flower bed. The steady rains have made the soil soft enough to get the roots out with the weeds. Getting as many of the roots as possible will keep the return weed numbers way down. It also creates more room in the soil for the roots of the flowers planted in the bed.

Over the years the large flower bed has become overrun with weeds and grasses. I’m embarrassed to post pictures of it but in the interest of demonstrating the transformation, photos will be posted.

After weeding for the day

After weeding for the day


For weeding in the rain a good raincoat, work gloves and work boots are a good idea. I also use a tool that is a combination cat’s claw and hoe. With the ground wet a cardboard box, broken down makes for a good knee guard and after an area has been weeded it can be placed on the now bare ground to prevent grasses from growing back.

Last time I spoke of budgeting time as carefully as you budget money. Looking at the large flower bed, and honestly it is really just a strip on the side of the driveway that I’ve decided will be a flower bed, it would be easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. What does this have to do with budgeting time? Well when I first started the project I decided I could budget 2 hours of time each weekend to landscaping and gardening. Two hours is about all you’d want to spend out in the rain doing weeding even with a good raincoat and gloves. Two hours a week will be enough to chip away at the weeds and have the whole thing beautiful and ready to go by spring.

Border holding strong

Border holding strong

The border we installed last week is holding very well. The silt has not covered the stones we cleaned off from that side. In the photo silt has covered the other side where the border hasn’t yet been installed. When it isn’t raining so hard, or when I haven’t worked overtime we will install the other side.

I counted up the bricks left and we will need more to do the other side of the walkway. Fortunately purchasing a few at a time spreads the cost out and makes it more affordable.

There will be plenty to do in the garden and flower bed until the weather gets too bad to work in it. The raised beds still need to finish being winterized. That might be next week too. K.