With the arrival of the cold, the return (as expected, incidentally) of the rain and the growing extent of the domain of the night, the garden has lost its luster. The shimmering colours and gold of autumn have given way to the grey wet and faded in the approaching winter. The off-season wears really well its name… Not a question to sit idly by, waiting for the return of spring. The garden will be all the more beautiful to her alarm clock that you will be able to help falling asleep.

let’s Start with the vegetable garden. Tomatoes, eggplants, beans, zucchini, cucumbers: pull out all the seedlings wilted or blackened by the frost and put them in the compost, except if they are suffering from downy mildew or powdery mildew to prevent these dreadful diseases do not reappear the following year. Work the land on a twenty centimeters with a fork-spade, and cover with fresh compost, manure or dead leaves. This cover crop will protect the soil against the elements while providing food and shelter for earthworms, your valuable allies. Also remember to mulch the leeks, lettuce and spinach in the winter and covered with a veil of wintering or of a polytunnel, which earning a few degrees, to help them grow while insulating from the cold.

see also: HORTIQUID – Hedge: what shrubs are resistant in temperatures of -20°C?

Make bouquets with the last roses. /K.-U. Hler – Fotolia

In the flower beds and borders of flowers, perennials are the most hardy as daylilies, phlox or peonies are doing all alone. Ditto for the digital, the rudbeckias and the bluebells which there does not remain a simple rosette around the buds where will the future flower stalks.

rose bushes require no special protection. A simple mound of potting soil or sawdust from untreated wood will be sufficient to protect their graft point if you live in the mountains or in an area with harsh winters. Needless also to prune them too severely, you will do it in the spring. On the other hand, make a beautiful bouquet with the last roses that tire the foot by pumping of the sap for nothing. Like all plants, deciduous, roses need a period of dormancy long enough to set out again of more beautiful in the spring.

Much more cautious, the agapanthes or sages guarani, respectively, from Africa and South America, must have their foot protected by a mound of peat, or a thick layer of straw or leaves. Same thing with the cannas and dahlias that you will however have interest to dig up and store in a cool place in your basement if you are afraid of strong frosts.

Station at the excess water!

plants that grow in a pot are even more vulnerable. First, because it is often tropical or mediterranean, but also because their roots are more exposed to the cold and the humidity when they are in open ground. Note in this connection that the excess water and waterlogging that it induces, are the main cause of winter mortality of the plants of a balcony or a terrace.

citrus should not over-winter in heated rooms. Norio Nakayama under a CC license

The first thing to do is therefore to remove the plates in order to avoid that the jars are immersed in water for weeks. The frequency of watering your indoor plants needs to for the same reason, be strongly reduced: no more than one to two times per month, depending on the species and the temperature. The same diet dry will have to apply to outdoor plants sensitive to the cold as you will over-winter in a greenhouse, conservatory or unheated room but light (garage, shed, etc.). This is the case of pelargoniums (commonly called geraniums), fuchsias, or lantanas. Stop also, given that they live in slow-motion to make the fertilizer until the resumption of vegetation.

outside the far south of France or coastal regions, the mediterranean shrubs such as citrus (lemons, mandarins…), the laurier-rose, or the olive tree must be protected from the cold. Don’t make the mistake to over-winter in a heated room, or only for short periods of time, in the event of a sharp fall in the thermometer. These evergreen plants need to stop pushing during the winter at the risk of exhausting and wasting away. Store-so they also in a local and informed, non-heated, to a temperature ideally comprised between 5 and 10°C.

see also: HORTIQUID – How to protect an olive tree in a pot during the winter?

by default, leave them on your balcony sheltered from cold winds by wrapping the pot in several layers of plastic bubble wrap to prevent the roots freezing and cover in the aerial parts with a veil of wintering. Do not use plastic: plastic that is impervious to air, this material causes condensation which over time will rot the foliage. Always to gain a few degrees closer to the pots walls, if possible, exposed to the west or south, so that the plants benefit from the thermal leakages from your home.

If despite all these precautions, the gel had to put some of your plants, wait until spring before you declare it dead. Oleanders, mimosas, fig trees or olive trees, leave often the foot or branches free to be reborn and to return at the end of a more or less far away, their silhouette initial.

Your appointment “garden” to do (mostly) not to be missed

• 2 December: 8th-market of the truffle of Burgundy, the House of the Forest, Leuglay, Côte-d’or).

• From 6 December to 9 January: exhibition “The garden tool, his past, his memory”, hall of the SNHF, 84 rue de Grenelle, Paris 7th.


• Until 8 December: exhibition “Sublime nature”, paintings by Jan Dilenschneider, bookshop-gallery, Gardens art, Paris 6th.

• 8 December: 34th festival of the cardon, place Gilbert-Boissier, Vaulx-en-Velin (Rhône).

• 9 December: 23rd-feast of the olive, Corconne (Gard).

• 11 December: a Day of information “Plants spontaneous and gardening: what is cohabitation?”, SNHF, 84 rue de Grenelle, Paris 7th.

• 13-14 December: workshop “choosing and planting fruit trees”, garden Centre, Saint-Loup-des-Bois (Nièvre).

• 15 December: 18th feast of the olive piqued, Nyons (Drôme).

• Until 6 January: “Vaux-le-Vicomte celebrates Christmas”, the Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Maincy (Seine-et-Marne).

• Until 28 February: exhibition “winter Gardens”, the Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire (Loir-et-Cher).


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