Winter Gardener Withdrawal
January 2, 2008
Withdrawal . . . a typical symptom us gardeners endure during the winter months. Well, maybe not if you live in the Southwest. In the Northwest, it’s not terribly cold, but I could swim through parts of my garden beds in the backyard. My problems are confounded by months of rain, as well as living on a natural, underground spring. If you are forced to embrace similar boggy situations during the winter months, see my post Boots That Make a Splash. Sometimes blogging about gardening just isn’t enough. Today, I froze my fingers off installing a steel cable trellis for my star jasmine outside the front door. I particularly like the hint of modernism peering through the twisting vines (I will post pictures upon completion).
To cure my own winter withdrawals, I start ripping out pictures from my favorite garden magazines, or tab through my favorite books, and start planning what I’ll conquer in the garden come spring. Last year I added a pergola and a garden shed that hangs from the side of my house. This year, I will continue to landscape with plants that are known to be drought resistant, attract beneficial insects, and look great all year long. I feel good about myself striving to be a responsible gardener, but most of all, I hate watering during the summer.
My goal is not to preach about water conservation, although I think it is extremely important, but rather offer just one of many ways to create a beautiful, eco-conscious garden. I will, however, sneak in a plug about SOIL PREPARATION. I still pay the price for being a once hasty novice, a garden that is part bog during the winter and concrete during the summer. One of my favorite books that helps me plan a garden for all seasons is, Drought Resistant Planting Through the Year by Beth Chatto. My first attempt at garden design looked pretty good during the spring and summer months, but lacked structure and interest during the winter. This book has a good balance of colorful garden pictures, as well as helpful information to preparing soil, placement, and plant combinations.
If too much water during the year leaves you clueless in designing your garden, and a man-made lake to attract wildlife is out of the question, check out Beth Chatto’s Damp Garden: Moisture-loving plants for year-round interest.
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