Spanning across 55 acres, Cheekwood’s pristine gardens and manicured lawns are viewed by thousands each year, from leisurely Nashville locals to traveling tourists. With four unique festivals, the gardens’ vibrant displays are thoughtfully designed to complement Nashville’s four distinct seasons, offering guests an experience that stimulates the mind and ignites the imagination.
Senior Vice President of Gardens, Patrick Larkin, oversees the meticulous planning that goes into maintaining the Cheekwood gardens year round. With his knowledge in horticulture and attention to detail, you can count on him to offer helpful advice on how to maintain your own garden – even in the winter.
While many think winter is a time to hang up the gardening gloves, Patrick says it’s often the best time to roll up your sleeves and get to work to ensure a fruitful spring harvest. He’s shared 6 tips on how to manage your home garden during the colder months ahead.
Patrick’s Winter Gardening Tips
One of the great things about living in the Nashville area is that, depending on the winter, you can work in your garden nearly year round. This means that all those gardening tasks that you didn’t get done in the fall you can get done now. Here are a few things you can do now to make sure you’re able to enjoy your spring garden:
Plant your bulbs!
If you bought too much from the catalogs, or you just ran out of time, it’s still not too late to plant your spring flowering bulbs. If you don’t want to get on your hands and knees at this time of year, plant the bulbs up in containers and leave them outside. You’ll have spring color that you can move around the yard as you please.
Trim back perennials.
By now all your perennials have gone dormant, so go ahead and prune the spent seed heads and brown leaves to the ground. Some plants (like black-eyed Susan) produce seed heads that are attractive to overwintering birds. These can be left standing until early spring, at which time they can be pruned back.
Get rid of any diseased foliage.
Leaves from infected plants needs to be removed from around the yard. If left alone or composted they can harbor the elements for a new outbreak next year.
Water needle-leaved conifers (like pines, firs, spruces and cedars) and broad-leaved evergreens (such as Southern magnolias) if we are having a dry winter. This ensures that they will be well hydrated when the dry, so the dry desiccating winds of winter don’t cause additional damage.
Fill your bird feeder.
You never know what feathered visitor may stop by! And be sure to provide water as well.
Make notes on what worked and what didn’t work in your yard, to help you plan for a successful garden next year. You are more likely to remember key points now rather than in the frenzy of spring popping next March or April! Additionally, be sure to look through all those gardening catalogs which fill your mailbox at this time of year. They are a great source of inspiration of plant combinations you might want to try in your own garden, as well as letting you know what some of the latest and greatest plants being introduced into the trade.
Senior Vice President of Gardens