The following is the technique used by Wild Bill to protect his plants during the winters of Connecticutt. *Perhaps some of you can benefit from his tips:
I'm in Connecticut where we get lots of snow and freezing temps in the winter. *Here's what I did last October and it worked very well; only lost 2 of 100 or so plants.
1. *I built an 8-foot by 4-foot raised garden bed.
2. *Started collecting lots of pine needles. A garbage bag or two full.
3. *Then I filled the raised bed with FREE compost from our local recycling center.
3. *A day or two before dormancy I sprayed down all the plants with a fungicide (powder you mix with water) using a 2 gallon pump-style garden sprayer.
4. *I scooped out little holes and placed all the plants (pots and all) in the raised bed, packing the soil around the pots. *I tried to put the tenderest plants in the center.
5. *Sprayed all plants with fungicide, again.
6. *Strew pine needles over all the plants, about an inch thick layer.
7. *Placed a large sheet of burlap (over the whole bed) on top of the pine needle layer.
8. *Shoveled on a 1 foot deep layer of wood chips on top of the burlap the first week (again = FREE from our recycling center ).
9. *The following week added another foot of wood chips.
When spring rolled around, I would remove a few inches of the wood chips as the weather warmed up. *One suggestion John Phillip (NECPS Prez) suggested was to use pine boughs instead of wood chips because you just don't know what's in the stuff from your *recycling center - stuff that could cause disease or otherwise damage your plants.
I hope this helps everone.
Many thanks to Wild Bill for sharing his technique. *