Enjoying Your Garden in Winter

I have a hard time getting myself outside in winter, but it is always worth the effort. I do enjoy going for a walk or messing about in the yard or garden with various clean up projects. I love the subtle beauty of winter with or without snow. Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to see the beauty that is there. That makes winter the perfect time to train your eyes for seeing nature and to plan for the upcoming growing season.

A winter garden takes some planning ahead. Now is the time to do it. One of my favorite things to do in winter is to snuggle next to a fire and read seed catalogues. As I’m are doing that, I dream about my summer garden but also think about plants I can continue to enjoy in winter.

 There are few vegetables that will survive into January in my location. On rare occasions, Brussels sprouts and kale will make it. Parsnips will make it through the winter, but if the ground freezes solid, they can’t be harvested. I can’t count on being able to dig them in January, but there is something especially rewarding about winter harvesting when it is possible.

Some ornamentals plants remain beautiful even after a frost. These include ornamental grasses and plants with ornamental seed pods or berries. What fun to go out in the snow and pick a bouquet of seed pods to grace your house in winter! Some weeds such as teasel and cattail can also contribute to a winter bouquet.

Weeds and seed pods for a winter bouque include teasel, mullein, goldenrod, hibiscus, rosehip, Japanese iris, and baptisia.

Here is your challenge for the weekend.

Go out in your back yard if you have one and notice whatever beauty is there. If you don’t have one, take a stroll through your neighborhood or a local park. Do you see anything that retains ornamental value in winter? Do you have trees of shapely form or gnarly bark? Can you identify them by their form and bark? Do you have any interesting weeds? Do you see anything you can gather for a winter bouquet? (If you aren’t on your own land, make sure you have permission.) Are your neighbors’ gardens more interesting than yours? Do you see anything that you might like to try growing in your own garden?

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