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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – October 30

I got a request for my opinion about winter protection from the All Experts site today. A new home owner wanted to know if he needed to wrap his evergreens in burlap for the winter as the previous owners had done. I explained that yes, there may have been good reason for the wrapping in the past. The shrubs were down near the road where piles of snow or salt spray might have been damaging. Perhaps the shrubs were new last year, I explained, so the owners were feeling extra protective, or maybe their landscapers just sold them on this service and they decided to take the professional’s advice.

Then I went on to say that every gardener must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of winter protection. The love of a special plant must be balanced by the work and expense of creating a barrier. We must also ask ourselves if we really want to look at mummified plants for four or five months.

The bottom line for me, however, is that if most plants in my garden can’t make it in the place where I’ve placed them, then I’ve chosen the wrong plants for that location. If plowed snow is an issue, I shouldn’t put shrubs in that area where they will get dumped on and mashed. If the road is being salted in the winter, I am stupid to place plants nearby that will be harmed by salt spray. Basically, I view burlap wrapping as an initial failure to put the right plant in that location.

There is a point when “the cure” is a coverup for having made the wrong decision in the first place.

On the eve of Halloween, some scary foundation plantings.

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