Garden work completed

Garden work completed

As we head into Thanksgiving week and the holiday season, I’m so grateful for a few beautiful days in the yard and garden.

On Wednesday it was finally warm enough to wrap up the hoses and store them for the winter. You have them outside, ready for storage, but wrapping a frozen or cold hose is like trying to wrap a stick around your arm.

Once the hoses are twisted or coiled into a circle, I use zip ties to keep them nice and neat and stored in the garage. This keeps the hoses lasting longer. I have some hoses that I have been using for over 15 years.

The Flexogen hoses were primarily high quality, so that helps. However, storing them inside a shelter during the winter prevents cracks in the rubber and helps them last longer.

I also had a chance to pull out the rest of my annuals that were looking rough as well as cut back any perennials that needed to be cut back.

However, I know you see a lot on social media suggesting that you leave woody stems for native bees to overwinter. Allowing the leaves to remain on the ground for the winter to protect other insects, etc.

First, don’t feel guilty if you’ve already thinned out your woody perennials. Just keep this in mind for next year. Second, you don’t have to leave all your perennials standing for the winter. Finally, don’t leave a clump of uncut leaves on your lawn or there could be problems next season.

If you have a large perennial bed, as I do, you may not have time in the spring, when everything suddenly happens in the garden, to cut back the perennials. So, cut back what you need, and leave a few woody stems for pollinators.

I tend to leave the coneflowers to both birds and pollinators. I cut some woody stems and put them back under the shrubs in the perennial garden. The rest goes into the compost pile.

My husband mows the lawn, chops up the leaves, and leaves them on the grass to decompose. I don’t worry about leaves in my flower beds until spring, unless there are clumps, and they’re tangled up on perennials.

Fortunately, I have black locust that has small leaves. I never clean them and they end up decomposing and adding organic matter to my beds.

The last winter preparation chore I completed this week was sharpening all my tools, including my shovels. Apply linseed oil to wooden handles and clean your tools so they’re ready for spring.

I have another chore, which is coming up in the next couple of weeks. I have a few bulbs blooming in the spring to get into the ground. Then you’re done!

Pamela Corley-Bennett is the state’s volunteer Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture instructor at The Ohio State University. Contact her via email at

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