Gardening: Prepare for Winter

In the Rogue Valley, fall is a good time to plant perennials, shrubs, trees and bulbs. Just bulbs.jpgremember to keep new plants well watered until winter rains begin.

Plant Spring Bulbs: Plant daffodils, tulips, crocuses in October and into November until the ground freezes.

Watering: Cut back watering established perennials, shrubs and trees to prepare them for winter. (Remember to continue watering new plants until rains begin.)

Deadheading & Clean up:  To provide food and habitat for pollinators & birds throughout the winter, Do Not cut or remove perennial stems and flower heads until the spring.   NOTE:  If you must have a prim garden, then cut back perennials stems to 6-8 inches on plants that have finished blooming for the season.

Leaves: Rake and remove leaves from the lawn, use leaves as mulch in your flowerbeds, or compost them to make leaf mold.  Shredded leaves break down faster and are easier for worms to turn into compost. Placing shredded leaves in flowerbeds over the winter helps protect plants, suppresses weeds, and will provide nutrients by late spring.

Dig Bulbs.  Tender bulbs such as dahlias and gladiolus should be dug up in cold winter areas.  When foliage begins to yellow and die, cut back foliage, dig up bulbs, and store them in a cool, but freeze-free, area like in an insulated garage, under your house or in an spare refrigerator.   When digging be careful not to damage the bulb.  In lower elevation areas of the Rogue Valley you can cover tender bulbs with 6-8 inches of mulch for winter protection.  

Mulching with leaves, hay, or even evergreen boughs can provide an extra layer of protection for tender perennials. These mulches will catch and hold snow which helps insulate them.

Feed Plants. Fall is a good time to feed perennials by working in a 4 to 6 inch thick layer of compost in your beds. This compost slowly breaks down over winter providing nutrients to the plants and improves soil structure.

Article by: Carlotta Lucas



Oregon Snakes

One of many nice qualities about living in Oregon, is its non-poisonous snakes, well all but one!


Western Rattlesnake –   Photo By Gary Stolz, U.S. Fish & Wildlife/Wikimedia

Snakes are beneficial to gardeners, they eat mice, voles, rats, slugs, Japanese beetle grubs and other gardening pests.  Only one snake species in Oregon can harm humans, and that is the venomous Western Rattlesnake.

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) reported,  “there are two sub-species of the Western Rattlesnake in Oregon, the Northern Pacific subspecies, found in southwestern Oregon, in the middle and southern Willamette Valley, as well as the Columbia Plateau. The Great Basin subspecies is found in Oregon’s south central areas and the southeastern region. ”

ODFW says Gopher Snakes (Pituophis catenifer) are often mistaken for Rattlesnakes, because Gopher Snakes shake their tail, hiss and strike out with their head, but Gopher Snakes are not venomous, nor do they have rattles on their tails.  Other snakes in Oregon are also harmless to humans and they are beneficial to the environment, too.

Gopher snake

Gopher snake – Photo by Julia Larson/Wikimedia

Oregon snakes:

  • Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer)
  • Western rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
  • California Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata)
  • Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)
  • Northwestern Garter snake (Thamnophis ordinoides)
  • Pacific Coast Aquatic Garter snake (Thamnophis atratus)
  • Common Garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
  • Racer snake (Coluber constrictor)
  • Western Terrestrial Garter snake (Thamnophis elegans)
  • Ground snake (Sonora semiannulata)
  • Striped whipsnake (Coluber taeniatus)
  • Sharp-tailed snake (Contia tenuis)
  • Ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus)
  • Night snake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea)
  • Rubber Boa (Charina bottae)


Charina_bottae _ Rubber Boa _ USDA Forest Service

Rubber Boa – photo by USDA Forest Service

To learn more about Oregon’s snakes, click on the links below:

Download Oregon’s Fish & Wildlife Brochure … Oregon_Living With Snakes pdf


By: Carlotta Lucas

Butterfly Gardens


Monarch Butterfly

Robin McKenzie, Master Gardener and principal designer for Rockbird Gardens, gave an outstanding presentation on Monday at the Ashland Garden Club meeting. Robin specializes in creating sustainable backyard ecosystems for wildlife, and for people. Monday she talked about “Planning and Growing a Butterfly Garden”,  her talking points were:

• Research the items you need to attract butterflies
• Find a sunny garden location. ( 6-8 hrs of sun)
• Create a garden plan for your yard: flowerbeds, raised beds, and/or containers
• Know the timeline needed to create a garden
• Prepare the soil for your plants, add amendments, make sure you have good drainage
• Install borders and hardscape before you plant (*see mud-puddle below)
• Decide your plant choices: purchase and/or grow your plants, then plant according to their specific directions, don’t crowd your plants!


Butterfly Puddle

*Butterflies need water, so make them a mud puddle!
Use a shallow dish such as a plastic or terracotta plant saucer in a sunny area of your garden that is protected from the wind. Fill the bottom of the pan with sand, gravel, and a few small stones, add water to the dampen sand.

Host plants:
Attract more butterflies by having plants for larval food in your yard, for instance:



Milkweed for Monarchs
Tarragon for Swallowtails
Angelica for Anise Swallowtails
Violas for Great Spangled Great Spangled Fritillary
Note: Be prepared for heavy munching on these host plants, these plants are  caterpillar food!

See list of host plants here:

And here….

How to become a Certified monarch Butterfly Station:

Lecture was by Robin McKenzie
Monarch Butterfly image by Simon Koopmann‎ on Wikimedia Commons
Submitted by: Carlotta Lucas