Although Phase Three of Winter Gardening doesn’t officially start until after the New Year begins, it’s good to know about it now, so that planning for it can take place here in the midst of Phase Two.
Phase Three is all about Chilling Out, both literally and figuratively. It takes place in January and early February when we can and will have some of the coldest days of the winter.
Other than occasionally walking around outside and muttering about how cold it is, the only gardening that really goes on during this Phase Three of Winter Gardening is taking place inside and in our own imaginations.
You would think we would relax and do something else other than gardening or thinking about gardening for awhile, knowing there is nothing we can do in the garden, but that’s not as easy to do as you might think.
There are seed catalogs to read! Yes, I start reading the seed catalogs right after the last of the holiday decorations are put away. As the catalogs arrive, I might glance through them, but then I set them aside until January, the official beginning of Seed Exploration and Examination Days (SEED)
There are hyacinth bulbs to force! Yes, I put some hyacinth bulbs in the back of my refrigerator in the fall, sometime during Phase One. (Oops, sorry if didn’t remind you to do this back then). In early January, I pull the bulbs out, fill the hyacinth vases with water, and then set the bulbs on top and watch and wait for them to bloom sometime in February.
There are house plants to tend to! Yes, I get enamored with house plants about this time. I trim them a little, rotate them so they’ll grow evenly, and occasionally acquire a few new ones.
There are garden plans to make! Yes, I think about what I’m going to do in the garden as soon as it warms up. I plan out flower beds, vegetable gardens, all kinds of gardens. Some of them I actually plant in the spring, others remain ideas for years and years.
There are books and blogs and articles to read! Yes, I hope to get a few new gardening books for Christmas, assuming I’ve been good this year, and I’ll keep up with blog reading and writing. At some point, I’ll drag out the gardening magazines I’ve barely had time to read during the year and read them more thoroughly.
It all sounds wonderful and dreamy, doesn’t it, my fellow gardeners of the south who have much to do in your gardens in January. It really is a time for rest, a time for chilling out, a time for garden planning and dreaming.
But about half-way through, we start to long for that final phase of winter gardening, Phase Four. More on that later…
(If it warms up tomorrow, I’ll be pulling out those pansies pictured above. The snow melted but the cold weather finished these pansies off.)