Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Getting Ready for Winter

These little garden statues should all come inside.

As you get your garden ready for winter, don't forget to take all of your garden ornaments inside. While most people remember to take their garden hoses and containers indoors to protect them from the elements, garden accessories can also be damaged by winter temperatures.

  • Wind chimes:  You can leave wind chimes out if they're in a sheltered location. Rain, snow and ice do take their toll on the metal chimes and can tarnish or discolor them. The string holding the chimes together can also rot. 
  • Small statues: Little stone or plastic statues, garden gnomes, etc. should be removed and brought indoors too. Stone may fare just fine outside, but plastic statues can be buried in snow, cracked, or even blown off of your lawn by a strong winter gale. 
  • Plaques: I have some small stone plaques around my garden that have sayings and quotes on them that I like. During the summer, they're balanced upright against stones, but I take them indoors in the winter Snow and ice will crack them just as surely as they crack terra cotta pots and containers.
  • Bird baths: Unless you have a bird bath heater, it's important to empty the basin of your birdbath and bring it inside. Plastic birdbaths should by removed from the garden entirely in the winter. Stone birdbaths that have detachable basins and pillars can be taken apart and the basin stored inside.
  • Whirl-a-gigs and pinwheels: Many people like hanging wind catchers, whirl-a-gigs and pinwheels in the garden. Because wind can catch them and send them sailing into your windows (or worse, into a neighbor's windows!) you may also wish to move them indoors for the winter. 

Bird houses should stay outside during the winter months so that they are ready for spring, but you should take some time during the winter months to clean out old nests. Bluebird houses can become quite full with old nesting materials; bluebirds will simply add a new nest onto an old one until the whole house becomes packed with nesting material. Remove and discard old nests and rinse out birdhouses so that they are clean and ready for next spring's inhabitants. 

Take a walk through your garden and collect all of the little accessories you love. Store them safely inside a barn, shed, garage or basement. Then pour yourself a cup of cocoa and relax. You're all set for spring!

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