To the casual observer, this phase, which I call “Settling In”, looks a lot like a bear hibernating, as far as gardening goes. Sometimes it’s hard to see any activity at all.
But there are actually several activities that a gardener must attend to in Phase Two.
First, I make sure that my gardens are tastefully decorated for Christmas. This includes a few strands of light, a wreath or two, perhaps some swags of evergreen, and whatever other adornments of good taste I might have. No garish displays for my garden!
Once that is all set up, or perhaps before, I like to pot up several amaryllis and narcissus bulbs. These should then bloom shortly before the holidays or shortly after the holidays or sometime in January. I’ve never timed these quite right, so I don’t count on them for holiday decorations. I just like to grow them.
Last year, the narcissus pictured above bloomed on January 10th, which is about the time we move into Phase Three of winter gardening. But I digress, this post is about Phase Two.
Like many gardeners, I don’t especially like to grow poinsettias. Truth be told, few gardeners actual ‘grow’ poinsettias, in the sense of getting them to flower again. Like everyone else, if we buy them, we buy them already in flower and when we grow tired of them, we toss them in the compost bin. Admit it! You’ve done that, too.
I actually have several live poinsettias from last year which I put outside when it warmed up in the spring. This fall, I repotted them with some Diamond Frost® Euphorbia and brought them inside. I’ve not even attempted to give them the light adjustments they need to flower, so I’m sure they’ll be nice and green for Christmas.
Hey, let’s start a new trend… Green Poinsettias!
Why not? They unfortunately sell them in every other color imaginable at this time of year.
I think the green poinsettias would look quite nice with the red poinsettias that I have, which are a lovely pair of silk poinsettias, yes, silk poinsettias, that I bought on clearance years ago. Don’t judge! They look real enough that sometimes I think they should be watered.
The second activity in Phase Two of Winter Gardening is my favorite. Like gardeners everywhere, I
torment present my non-gardening friends and families with a “gift suggestion list” which includes a few things for the garden, many of which are available only from online sources.
Secretly, I think they love to get me all these things for gardening because they know I’ll really use them and enjoy them. I can just imagine the plotting and planning, the bartering and scheming amongst them all as they try to be the one who gets me a new hoe for Christmas!
But this year I don’t have any hoes on my list. Though if someone were to recommend a hoe I don’t already have, I might be tempted to add it.
I did put on my list a compost thermometer, a couple of specific gardening books, some pots made of recycled material and a “garden theme” calendar. Typical stuff that any gardener would like to have, right?
The third activity in Phase Two of Winter Gardening is to take an occasional walk about the garden, just to check on how things are freezing up out there. I’ll also be checking the compost tumbler to see how it does in this cold weather, and giving it a spin or two, if it will still spin when it is below freezing. Geez, it would be nice to have a compost thermometer to see how hot it gets in there, wouldn’t it?
I’ll also be on the look out in Phase Two to make sure I didn’t leave anything out in the garden that should have been put away for the winter in Phase One of winter gardening.
Phase Two, “Settling In”, will last pretty much through the New Year, at which point we will be ready to enter into Phase Three of the four phases of winter gardening.
See, broken down into phases, winter gardening so far isn’t too bad, is it?
I’ll post about Phase Three in a few days.
Winter Gardening: Phase One (in case you missed it.)