Winter-Proof Your Garden
Did you know that Venus rules your beautiful and beloved garden-grown rose, but Jupiter rules the flower’s thorns? By tending to the planets and signs that help your favorite blooms and sprouts grow, you can winterize your garden so it’s ready for a hearty spring!
Aries: Aries loves new starts, so plant spring flowering bulbs early. You can even start to grow cool weather veggies like spinach in mild climates. Beets, carrots, and turnips will be OK until heavy snow – just feed them twice a month with fertilizer. Your ruler Mars rules burns, and many trees like poplars and willows are susceptible to winter sunburn. Cover the trunks with burlap or heavy cloth so they won’t crack.
Taurus: Taurus’ ruler Venus rules stone fruit. Destroy diseased or wormy fruit. Many roses are winter hardy but need to be ready. Stop fertilizing and deadheading as the weather gets cooler. Prune your roses to a height of three feet, and never prune in freezing weather! After most of the leaves drop off, bank soil against the base, about 8 to 10 inches. Plant wildflower seeds in rock gardens for blooms next spring.
Gemini: Divide perennials, typical of Gemini twin-ship, and get two for one. Then, replant and mulch well to protect them from frost. Mercury-ruled Gemini is symbolic of transient or passing things like the spent blossoms and the dead leaves at the bottom of your lilac shrub. Removing the latter encourages growth at the top. (Don’t do this too close to your area’s frost date, though).
Cancer: Moon-ruled Cancer will do well with a mother plant like a geranium, whose leaves provide lots of new plants next spring. Many plants can reward you by blooming all winter long if in a south-facing window. Take tip cuttings from fuchsia and root and grow indoors. The Moon rules lilies. Digging up plants after the frost kills the foliage and ensures that the rhizome has stored nutrients. Let them dry out for up to seven days and then store in a paper bag..
Leo: Solar-ruled cherry and olive trees should receive water, compost, and mulch, but stay at least one foot away from their trunks. Wrap the trunks to save the tree from frostbite and winter sunburn. Rosemary can survive outside in mild climates if mulched and watered. If you bring it inside, remember this herb likes neither indoor dryness nor heat. And don’t forget sunflowers! Take seeded flowers and make a wreath as your gift to the birds.
Virgo: Young apple trees should be stabilized with stakes and ropes to avoid snow breakage. Wrap a covering around their trunks. Earthy Virgo reminds us that ground cover plants that fail to grow should be pulled out of the ground. Cover the survivors with branches if you are in a climate that gets very cold, and don’t pack them too tightly – let in the air and light. Get rid of weeds before they seed and create more weeds next spring.
Libra: Libra embodies the harvest season. It’s time to pay attention to frost warnings. And cover your plants when there’s a threat. If you hate under-ripe, green tomatoes, wrap the greenies individually in newspaper. Store them inside, out of the Sun, and they will ripen. Libra’s ruler, beauty-oriented Venus, reminds you to seed lawns and water frequently. Try xeriscaping next year.
Scorpio: Fall and winter are ideal for composting. Don’t put weeds and their seeds in your compost pile, however, and beware: some vegetable plants like beans harbor disease and pests and shouldn’t go in there, either. Maple trees need a good long soak and mulching before a freeze. After the first frost, take out cannas, dahlias, and gladiola bulbs. Dry them for up to ten days, then store them in moist sand or perlite at 35 to 50 degrees.
Sagittarius: Jupiter/Sagittarius symbolizes bounty, so you’ll find that dividing perennials will give you more with less. Division should be done every three or four years, especially if plants aren’t flowering. Deadhead plants until frost. Just don’t overdo anything. Don’t over-fertilize now, and don’t let thorny parts of the bush become scraggly.
Capricorn: Saturn-ruled Capricorn is naturally wintry. Fall is the time to think about protecting trees and shrubs from future heavy snow damage. Plant winter wheat or rye in your garden plot to hold nutrients into the ground, and then turn them over in the spring. Or, to retain moisture, cover the soil with salt marsh hay or grass clippings.
Aquarius: Uranus/Aquarius represent research. Search the Internet for gardening information. Ask your local garden center for the best pruning, planting times, and crops for your area. Get advice about dormant sprays to protect against insects. Make notes about what worked and what didn’t this season.
Pisces: Neptune/Pisces rules ferns that die back and re-bloom in the spring. To protect them from winter harshness, cover them with straw. Hardy water lilies should be placed in the deepest part of the pond. If they are tropical, remove them. Place the lilies in pots in a 5-gallon bucket filled with sand and water. Your outside plants cannot access water in frozen soil. After leaves fall, water them thoroughly.