Winter Garden Chores

There are always many things to do in the garden throughout the year. Whether you are tidying your landscape, pruning or sowing there is plenty to do in December.

Here are a few we have put together:


Flower Gardens:

Wisteria: You can winter prune your Wisteria by cutting back the summer side-shoots and leave 2 to 3 buds.

Climbing Roses: The time to prune these is now. You can cut away diseased and/or damaged growth and tying in any new shoots to their support. Prune back the older side shoots by 2/3 of their length.

Japanese Maples: Prune the branches and vines now if they are needed. They will bleed sap if the pruning is done any later.

Hydrangeas: It is best to leave the faded flower heads on the plants until spring, this will provide frost protection to the swelling buds further down the stems.

Rose Bushes: If you had any bushes that suffered from blackspot or rust this summer gather up all the fallen leaves from around the base of the plants. This will help prevent a chance of infection next year.

Container Plants: Move these to a covered spot and cluster them together. The clustering helps prevent any suffering from frost damage to the root systems.

Dahlia Tubers: You need to lift and store these once the leaves are blackened by frost.

Climbing Plants: Make sure these are secured tightly with plant ties to their supports.

Oriental Poppies: This is the best time to take root cuttings and grow them on in cold frames.

Hardwoods: This is the time to take those hardwood cutting from your hardwood trees and shrubs.

Sarcococca Confusa: You can plant these shrubs to add color and fragrance to your garden this time of year.

You can also plant some shrubs for winter, to create more interest in your winter garden. Also planting containers you can also add hardy cyclamen, ivy, skimmia, and evergreen grasses such as Carex. This will add color to your entrances or paths for a great winter display.


If you are behind on your Tulip bulb planting there still is time, as long as your ground isn’t frozen and here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia the ground is most definitely not frozen.

It is also the right time to spread fresh gravel or grit around your alpine plants.

Your Lawn:

An easy way to keep your yard healthy is avoiding to walk across your yard when there is a heavy frost or snow. This will damage the grass underneath if you do.

If you are having a light winter continue cutting the grass if it is still growing. JustĀ raise the mower blade height.

Have your yard aerated or spike your lawn with a garden fork to improve drainage and aeration.

Keeping the fallen leaves off of the lawn will help you to prevent dead patches that can occur when the lawn is covered and light is not allowed in.

This is the time of year to have your lawn mower services and the blades sharpened. There is less demand than waiting in the spring and one less thing to worry about when you are busy with your spring garden chores.

Odd Garden Jobs:

Make sure you wash down all your garden tools. You can give them a wipe down with linseed oil on the wooden and metal areas to help prevent rusting and decay.

Clear out your garden shed for the spring.

Check your shed security, this is particularly important during the winter as you visit it less and it would take longer to know if someone had been in the shed or messing around.

This is a great time to make any fence repairs and to seal your wooden fences from the elements to prevent deterioration and decay.

If you have any water butts this is the time to clean them out before the fresh rain water fills them over the winter.

Rinse all the slimy patches on your porches and walkways with a pressure washer or scrub them. There are also liquid patio cleaners you can buy.

Check tree ties and stakes to ensure that trees are still secure following the strong fall winds we have. Adjust the ties as necessary.

Wash and disinfect bird feeders and bird tables and clean out the bird baths as well.


Top off your bird feeders and hand other bird treats in your garden. They will in turn for the full belly help keep garden pests away.

Start a compost pile. You can either build or buy a bin for that.

You can continue to collect the leaves and add them to your compost bin.

Make sure to turn your compost ingredients. This helps the contents decompose. Make sure they are covered as well. You can use an old piece of carpet or plastic. This will help prevent them from becoming to cold or wet to decompose.

Happy Winter!!




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