In the north country, plants are gently covered and put to bed in autumn. During an Ohio winter, the gardener with a warm drink in hand watches from indoors as the insulating snow piles onto the garden.
In the desert, we daily listen to weather forecasts, keep frost cloths and old blankets handy, dash out before sundown to cover plants, decide when it’s time to uncover, record temperatures and rainfall, make decisions on what care for which plants, and on and on. Such is winter gardening in the desert!
Although of short duration, desert winters can often be both confusing and frustrating. Should I prune now? How often do I water? Which plants to cover? When should I remove the cold protection? What should I be doing now?
Although winter conditions may suggest otherwise, dedicated gardeners want to be doing something in the landscape whenever the sun shines. It can be frustrating to be inside watching frost building on the bougainvillea just outside the window. Even though a weather event cannot be changed, offering a few guidelines for handling the winter garden may help relieve some of the anxiety.
Freeze damage most often occurs to plants with temperatures between 32