Winter Survival Tips for Gardeners
by Dennis Patton, horticulture agents
Let me go on record as saying, I hate winter. The older I get the more I realize that cold hurts. The heat of summer is just uncomfortable, but the cold as they say, chills to the bone.
As someone who dislikes cold weather, I am probably in the majority of many other gardeners that cannot wait for the arrival of spring. Now when it comes to gardening let me set the record straight, I am not a fanatic. I know some may find that hard to believe, but compared to some I am just a tiny blip on the garden fanatic scale. Don’t get me wrong, I love to garden, but with a busy career, a full time employed wife and two young adult sons just starting out on their own my hands are full.
The garden at this stage in my life is more of an escape. Like the very old Calgon commercial, “take me away” is how I view much of my time outdoors puttering around. Mowing the lawn in the summer is, for me, a few moments of quiet time.
This time of winter has to be the worst for a gardener. Everyday is one day closer to spring. I often find myself walking through the seemingly barren garden looking for evidence of life. Just to feel the soil or kick it with my foot brings a calming sense of the pleasure of what is to come.
Gardeners at this time of year take delight in the simple things in the garden. The covering of frost on a crisp morning, or the way the snow highlights the dormant mounds in the garden.
Walking through the yard on warmer winter day to check things out is another tactic for winter survival. Have the bulbs started the sprout? Are the buds on the trees bigger than they were last week? Do the perennials have a little more green growth than before? All these are signs of winter’s departure and the impending arrival of spring.
Many gardeners across the area are just trying to cope with short the winter days, cloudy skies and the cold temperatures. Gardeners, like all positive people, have one other common trait, a strong belief in the arrival of the best season of all, spring.