A friend of mine recently referred to gardening as a "seasonal hobby".
I'll pause so that those two word phrase can sink in.
How could gardening be so mis-understood? How could I be so misunderstood?
I took umbrage at that flippant comment.
Then I felt sorry for people who think that way.
Even though I live where the snow flies and outdoor activities in the garden are limited for a few months of the year, there's still a lot of gardening that I can do in the winter.
So, to convince those who think gardening is a seasonal hobby that it is really a year round, lifetime way of living, and perhaps to help the new gardener who has been smitten with gardening and doesn't know how to get a "gardening" fix in the wintertime, here are some gardening activities for "when the snow flies"
1. Tend your houseplants. Now is a good time to turn your attention to houseplants. I've been cleaning mine up this week, wiping the summer dust off the leaves, cleaning off their containers, refreshing that top layer of soil that gets a little stale sometimes. I neglect them a bit in the summertime, so even if they don't like this extra attention, I like giving it to them.
2. Force some bulbs. Tulips, hyacinths, crocuses and many other spring flowering bulbs can be forced to bloom indoors. You'll be glad you did it when it is February and you have spring flowers blooming indoors.
3. Read about gardening. There are so many books on gardening, gardens, gardeners, and every kind of plant, written for all levels of gardeners, that surely anyone could find a good gardening-related book or two to read in the winter time.
4. Shop for seeds. We have more seeds available to us online and via catalogs than any other generation of gardeners. You could easily spend hours looking at all the different seed catalogs, deciding what to buy. And then later, when you are nearly at the end of your rope because you'd like to do more gardening than winter allows, you can start the seeds indoors and tend the seedlings!
5. Update your garden journal. Winter is a good time to gather up all those plant labels and pictures and make notes about what you planted, what did well, what died, what changes you should make next spring in the garden, etc.
6. Stroll through the winter garden. It might be too cold to do much (never prune frozen trees and shrubs) but bundle up and walk around the garden in the winter to see it in a different perspective. Make note of changes to make in the spring, look for signs of trouble like rabbits eating small shrubs, and protect those plants before too much damage is done. I speak from experience! Rabbits STILL eat in the winter time!
Is that enough? Is everyone convinced that gardening isn't a seasonal hobby?
(The tree pictured above is in my mom's neighborhood. I believe it is a red maple (no kidding!), Acer rubrum. I wish I knew the variety because that fall color is something else, isn't it?)