Putting the Monarch Garden to Bed

Sandown Garden Club members Dale Dumphy, Jane Cain, Audrey Vargish, and Deb Fitzgerald put the Monarch Waystation and Pollinator Garden to bed for the winter.

SANDOWN — Members of the Sandown Garden Club took advantage of a warm and sunny fall morning to put the Monarch Waystation and Pollinator Garden to bed.

As the days grow shorter and the nights colder, perennial plants begin to enter a dormant stage for the winter. The life force that is in the green leaves of the summer gradually relocates to the roots of the plant. As the leaves turn yellow or brown, it is the sign that it is time to cut them back. One should be careful to not cut plants that are still green, but wait till a later date.

Most herbaceous perennials, such as peonies and hostas, can be cut to the ground. Those perennials that maintain basal foliage, such as salvias and penstemons, should be cut only to the ground-hugging leaves. Some plants remain up despite a killing frost and should be left till spring, such as catmint and Montauk Daisy. Many gardeners like to leave the strong stems and seed heads of coneflowers and black-eyed susans as winter food for birds.

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