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Winter Gardening

Transforming your garden into a winter wonderland really starts with a bit of pre-gardening beginning in late Fall. Follow this short guide to transforming your garden into a winter wonderland.

Clean Out Your Beds and Planters

Remove all old vegetable vines and dead flower plants. Some gardeners leave the roots in the ground to decompose but I prefer to pull them out completely.

Clean Up the Garden Floor

Not only are fallen leaves, dead plants, and other debris unsightly, but they can harbor diseases, rodents, or insect eggs if left on the ground over the winter. Rake up the debris and use it for compost or just get rid of it.

Protect the Ground Around Your Garden

Using a good mulch around trees, shrubs, and other plants will not only prevent soil moisture loss and keep weeds from sprouting in the spring but it will also help keep the ground temperature from reaching freezing during the winter months. You want to help protect beneficial bacteria and insects that your Spring plantings will love.

A Quick Word about Hardiness Zones

London, Ontario, Canada has a hardiness Zone of 6b: -5°F to 0°F
Hardiness Zones are not hard and fast rules but a guide for what you can most likely have success growing in your area. Things like the placement of your garden (full sun or partial shade) also make a difference in your garden’s microclimate so that that into consideration too when deciding what will bloom in late fall and early winter if it’s a warm one.

Now that everything is cleaned up and protected we can get to the fun stuff…decorating our gardens!


Let’s start with trees. Of course, trees lose their leaves, fruit, and flowers during the winter, but their bark is still beautiful. If you don’t have many trees with interesting bark make a note to plant some. An interesting or unusual bark ads lots of interest to a stark winter landscape. Birch trees and dogwoods are gorgeous for their bark and give full enjoyment all year. I can’t talk about trees without mentioning the gorgeous and great smelling evergreens! Nothing is as beautiful as an evergreen tree dazzling with early morning frost or winter snow. Gold thread false cypress and dwarf blue spruce are excellent varietals for your winter landscape.


Winter brings thoughts of the holidays and holidays mean trees and shrubs that have berries they keep during fall and winter. Holly bushes with their colorful berries are what comes to mind during this season. English holly is gorgeous and festive with its glossy green leaves and vibrant red berries on female plants. Also, crabapples are an old favorite. The birds and animals love crabapples and they make a great sweet-tart jelly.


Accents are a wonderful way to transform your garden into a winter wonderland and you most likely won’t have to spend too much to do it. Add some interest to your garden with a bench, a birdbath and some birdhouses (they will so appreciate the shelter and a bit of food), or even a strategically placed little red wagon. Anything that can add a little color and interest is a great idea. Use your imagination and have fun and remember the best part about a winter garden is watching it come alive again next spring!

Picture of Anne-Marie Grantham

Anne-Marie Grantham

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