Most perennial winter plants are dormant in winter and start shooting out of the ground in spring, so the ones that do flower in winter are eye-catching. The following provide an exciting glimpse of what can be grown in the winter garden, when many plants are resting.
Helleborus – This is an important genus from the gardener’s point of view, with many desirable plants, all with nodding flowers and handsome, more or less evergreen leaves. They are indispensable in the winter garden. All Hellebores thrive in the shade of deciduous trees and shrubs and will even tolerate heavy shade next to a wall. They are easy to grow in any fertile, well-drained soil in sun or shade. All are poisonous.
Winterizing not only makes your garden look better during the cold weather months, but will make for easier work in the spring and it is essential in cold-winter regions, where freezing, drying conditions can tax even hardy plants. Start closing your garden down when there is frost in the forecast or the temperature consistently starts to drop to the low 40’s or mid-30’s (Fahrenheit), usually around late October or November.
One of the first things you should do is clean all the debris from your garden. Get rid of dead foliage, leaves, roots, stakes and row markers. The debris you clean from your garden can be added to your compost heap which will be a big help come spring. You want to be sure, though, not to add any diseased debris or pest infected dead leaves or stalks in your compost pile. You don’t want to accidentally spread a disease from this year’s garden to next year’s.
Containers get too hot and dry in summer and conversely they get colder than a surrounding garden in winter because a greater area is exposed to the elements.
Plants in containers therefore need special attention in cold winters and may well have to be protected, however warm the microclimate of the individual patio, windowsill or roof garden. Roof gardens are particularly affected for being open to the elements they are more likely to be buffeted by wind and storms.