Winter is a difficult time for dedicated gardeners. Plants are dormant, the ground is muddy (or snowy), things are looking bleak, and it seems like springtime will never come. Getting through winter requires gardeners to have a little patience, and it’s important to remember that nearly all plants need a period of dormancy. So curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the off-season. In the meantime, there are things you can do to make winter just a little easier. Here are 5 ways to cure those winter gardening blues.
1. Join a garden club or plant society. You may have garden clubs close to home, or you can go online and join a society for nearly every plant under the sun, including hosta, orchids, cacti, roses, African violets or carnivorous plants. There are also societies for rare and endangered plants or for plants native to your area.
2. Create an indoor garden, or even two. For instance, a terrarium is a great place to begin. Use an open container such as a fish bowl or a closed container for succulents or other hardy little plants, or a lidded candy bowl or canning jar for moisture-loving tropical plants.
3. Force flowering branches. This may sound like a springtime activity, but you can force flowering branches in late winter, as soon as you notice the beginning of buds. Great plants for forcing include cherries, flowering quince, flowering crabapple, magnolia, honeysuckle, dogwood, pussy willow and forsythia. Some branches bloom in a couple of weeks while others may require nearly a month.
4. Visit a bookstore. Wander through the store and buy a couple of books that really grab your attention. You may find some real gems in thrift shops and used bookstores. A bookstore is also a good place to load up on a few colorful and inspiring gardening magazines. The images of spring and summer gardens will really boost your mood when the days are long and dark. Flipping through those mail-order catalogs that fill up your mailbox this time of year will help too.
5. Treat yourself to some pretty flowers. Nothing brightens up a kitchen or living room like fresh flower bouquets. It isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money, as simple but colorful flowers aren’t that expensive at most local supermarkets. The mood booster is well worth the small investment.