I just saw a Facebook post that read, “A garden and a book. That’s all I need.” How true! With the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping, this is a good philosophy to have if you’re a gardener.
Winter isn’t the best season of the year for those who like the feel of dirt under their nails. Things aren’t as gloomy as you might think, though. While winter is a naturally “blue” season, you can brighten it up while still taking it easy during the “off season.”
I would guess that you probably spent all your spare time in the spring, summer and fall tending to your outdoor plants. This would be a nice opportunity to spend some quality time with your houseplants. It’ll keep your green thumb limber in the warm comfort of your home. Your houseplants will certainly appreciate that and won’t feel so much like second-class citizens.
Nothing beats relaxing in front of a nice, warm fire and reading a good book to take the chill off a cold, winter night. Make that book a garden book. There are plenty of good, garden-themed books, both fiction and non-fiction. If you browse through a bookseller’s electronic and brick-and-mortar inventory and find nothing interesting, go back and read garden books you read 10, 20 or more years ago. Take it from me, enough time has passed that you’ll learn new things that you either forgot over time or missed on the first read.
Winter is when you get ideas for the upcoming landscaping season. When you want a break from reading books, check out landscape or gardening magazines. These are great sources for ideas.
Winter would also be a good time to take a landscape or gardening course. Check out those at the Rochester Civic Garden Center (rcgc.com) or Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County (monroe.cce.cornell.edu/) or the county you live in.
Most communities have garden clubs. Visit one of their meetings and see if it’s an organization you’d like to belong to. A regional bi-monthly magazine, Upstate Gardeners Journal (upstategardenersjournal.com), lists contact information for many of these organizations in the Calendar section of each issue. This section is also loaded with garden-related programs put on by the various clubs and organizations.
Depending on the weather, you may be able to get outside and do a bit of landscape care over the winter. If the temperature is above freezing and the precipitation is less than normal, tender plants, young trees and shrubs, and those plants overwintering in your cold frame will appreciate a drink of water. If we have a warmer than usual winter, your evergreens may need another anti-desiccant application.
Winter doesn’t have to be a hibernation period. There are plenty of landscape and gardening related things to keep you busy and your green thumb active.