Now that December is upon us, the gardens at the Study have been prepared for winter. Lantana has been lifted, pruned and repotted. They are kept alive in a cool greenhouse over the winter months, pruned and fertilized in the early spring, and will be ready for planting outdoors in late May.
Cannas and elephant ears have been lifted, cleaned and are ready for storage in the basement of the Study. In the past, we have had only mild success storing cannas, soI'm trying new technics this year. The cannas have been dug, the foliage cut back and bulbs have been cleaned of most soil.
Storage space is limited, so the bulbs will be layered in boxes with a soil-less mix (mostly peat moss) cushioning the bulbs. In the past, no soil was added and some of the bulbs shrivelled. Hopefully, the soil-less mix will help incubate the bulbs. The Study basement is not quite cool enough (45-50 degrees is ideal for storing), but I'm placing the bulbs in the coolest, darkest, dry spot in the basement.
Most of the perennials are cut back and shredded leaves are added to the garden for some extra winter protection. Plans are underway for a great 2010 season. Planting the gardens to look different every year, using period (1885-1905) plants and flowers require loads of research and many enjoyable hours looking through gardening catalogs, books and historical periodicals.