Prepping the garden for winter

I ventured out in the garden this weekend to do some cleaning. The rabbit damage was quite extensive and I regret the loss of the bulbs that suffered this harsh summer only to end up as dinner. But it’s a great motivator to look at garden catalogs and imagine what will be growing in our beds next year.

Since the cold weather is at our doorstep, I’ll be weeding and mulching for much of the week. I already trimmed our red oaks in the back. Much of the dessicated lily stalks came out of the ground with a slight tug…no need for clippers! Covering up holes in the beds as I go, I discovered that I have a selection of what I believe are perennial/biennial dianthus or china pinks that have greened back up and are budding despite the approaching winter. They must be the only plants flourishing in the rear beds right now. They are surviving as little hammocks of green in beds of dirt.

I also regret that I neglected the San Antonio salvia greggii and planted them in the burning heat. Their charred remains and the remnants of a purple salvia greggii are testaments of the terrible drought we had this year. I’m not even sure that the Hot Lips salvia in the rear beds will survive…they are struggling to put out new growth. Speaking of drought, we’re still at stage 3 water restrictions, which means watering once a week on Thursdays.

On the side bed, one of the artemisias is gone, and the white salvia that I planted didn’t survive repeated dog trampling. The tiny spiraea I ordered from an Ebay shop also finally gave up the ghost. However, Dad sent over a new shipment of rosemary and white salvia. I’ve already filled the holes with the remaining nandina and rosemary plants. Breck’s shipment of replacement iris bulbs will be replanted in the same spot for another shot next year. The happiest thing about the side bed are that the salvia are thriving, especially the Hot Lips specimen nearest the house wall.

The front beds look great, except for an invasion of grass and weeds that popped thru the light mulching. I’ve begun trimming back the gangly limbs from the fringeflowers. The colors are looking spectacular on the nandinas and fringeflowers, bursting into color for the fall. I haven’t yet attacked the canna colony, they are still blooming feverishly. The only casualty to report is that one of the petite myrtles perished, so it appears we are down to three petite white crapes. The red salvia greggiis are blooming like champs; I’ve begun to take cuttings to grow for the rear beds next year.