Dreaming Season Is Just Beginning

Recent posts on various and sundry garden and nature blogs about first snows, cloudy days, freezing rain and unspeakable cold are going to make our subtropical garden blogging friends think that they have the better end of the garden hoe, since they can still enjoy time in their gardens while some of us are stuck indoors, making fusses over African violets and other house plants.

But do they have it better than we temperate climate gardeners?

I don’t think so. They don’t have a very special garden season, the Dreaming Season.

For those of us gardening in more temperate climates, with the onset of winter, we are released temporarily from the daily upkeep of the garden and have a chance to sit back and reflect on our gardens.

We can close our eyes and imagine new flower beds and bigger, better vegetable gardens. We can plow through books and think about what our gardens will be like ‘next year’. We can rest, we can prepare, we now have time to pause and regroup.

We have time to dream.

The Dreaming Season is just beginning for us. And like any season of the garden year, we should make it the best ever. How to dream?

Catch up on reading all those garden magazines and books that have been stacking up all summer. Don’t just read the winter issues, which may indeed help right now with the winter garden, read the spring and summer issues to get ideas for next year.

Review your garden journal, if you kept one, or your summer garden blog posts, if you have a blog, and remind yourself what did well in your garden, what didn’t do so good, and what you wrote about that you wanted to change.

Go back through your favorite blogs to remember flowers you read about that you thought at the time you just had to have. Send an email to those gardeners, or leave a new comment, to get their thoughts on if they would grow that flower again. Ask them where they got their special flowers and if they have other flowers or plants they would recommend for you to try. They’d be delighted and would love to offer advice. If you don’t know where to start with all the blogs, go back through the Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day posts for a particular month, and follow the comments back to those gardeners who you think had something in bloom that you wanted.

Take written notes as you read through magazines, books, garden journals, seed catalogs and old blog posts. Write down your plans and the lists of plants you want to find in the garden centers this coming spring. Plan your seed orders. Post on your blog about your plans and dreams for your garden. I find I’m more likely to follow through on a written plan and tend to forget vague ideas. And I am even more likely to follow through on a plan if I tell others that’s what I’m going to do.

Don’t forget about your real garden during this Dreaming Season. Weather permitting, walk around your garden. Make notes on changes you want to make. Without all the leaves on the deciduous trees and shrubs and the distraction of flowers blooming, you can better see the overall structure of the garden. You can “feel” the garden in the winter in a different way than in the spring, summer or even fall. While you are out there, you can also look for small issues, like rabbits eating on small shrubs, and take steps right then to keep those issues from becoming big problems in the spring.

Once the Dreaming Season is over, you’ll be ready to get out into the garden again, to start digging and planting and hoeing and pruning and watering all over again. And you’ll have a plan to follow to make your garden your best one yet, the garden of your dreams.


Right on Sister...I am in dream mode for sure.
Colleen said…
I couldn't agree with you more---I love the Dreaming Season. Although, I love it a little less by the time February rolls around ;-)
jodi said…
Me three! Me three! I'm with Colleen though, on getting a bit exasperated when Farch (also known as February/March) seems interminable.

I hope that other bloggers will keep on blogging over the next several months. Some seem to be coming to a halt, maybe burnt out on posting. But others keep on flourishing, which I'm glad of.
Mary said…
I had just commented on someone's blog that we need seasonal changes, particularly winter, to reenergize ourselves. A time to slow down, think, and make plans. There's plenty of dream time going on here, too.
Kathy said…
Excellent post, Carol. And Farch . . . I'll have to remember that.
OldRoses said…
This is the season when my garden looks its best when it is still just a dream. Your suggestions are right on the money. I employ all of them. This year is the first time that I have written ideas/plants down over the growing season to use when I place my seed & plant orders. I also used my "must have" list for my fall bulb/perennial orders. It's a great tool.
Carolyn gail said…
I'm afraid I'm the lone voice calling out in the wilderness, Carol -I could happily garden outdoors 12 months a year. But, since I don't have that option I do use the winter time to do all the dreamy things you mentioned in your post.
M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) said…
I agree absolutely. Down here there is no rest for the weary. I've been looking at various snow pictures of my friends in the Pacific northwest with great envy. I'd love to curl up with some gardening books and a cup of hot chocolate in front of a fire tonight and dream about another year. Instead I've been out all day weeding and raking and transplanting.

mss @ Zanthan Gardens
The only thing I'm dreaming of at the moment is a white Christmas as we so seldom have one over here. And I'm looking forward to Spring when the garden comes to life again.
rusty in miami said…
Carol, how I envy you. Why don’t I have dream season? The demands of gardening in the tropics can be compare to that of been a new parent. The crying never stops, I need a break, I need a dream season.
Yes I do, if I could only get one with temperatures in the mid 70’s and no snow, I would be a happy man.
Nickie said…
I'd rather garden 12 months!!!
vonlafin said…
I love the dream season. It gives me time to pick up my other hobbies that I don't have time for in the summer...but, I am definitely glad when Spring rolls around!
Kathy said…
Hobbies? I finally clean the house!
Carol said…
Hi all, and thanks for the nice comments. Sounds like many of us are excited to have the Dreaming Season.

I'm waiting for it to snow here, and then I'll really be able to dream without feeling like I need to be out doing something in the garden!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens
chuck b. said…
I had a whole rebuttal to this post, but, no, I'm just laughing.
Pam/Digging said…
Pam @ Digging says:

Hi, Carol. I'm with Chuck on this one. I wouldn't trade our temperate winters for anything. Fall and winter are my favorite active-gardening seasons. As soon as October rolls around, I'm out in the garden every day, planting, transplanting, putting in the garden projects that I could only dream of all the long, hot summer.

While MSS is right that our garden tasks must continue all year in Austin, I think of summer as our dreaming season. It's too hot to enjoy the garden, except through the window, and I use the time for dreaming up new arrangements or puzzling through design problems.

Based on your comments, it sounds like everyone's happy with what they have. Didn't that work out well?
I would have to agree that in the sub tropics, high summer is our dreaming time when it's too damn hot to be out in the midday sun. Time for a cool beer an air conditioner and a garden mag'
Kathy said…
Jodi, my long term experience is that December is the slowest garden blogging month, due to the holidays more than anything else. Once we're into the new calendar year, gardeners will be blogging about the seed and plant catalogs, books they're reading, and then seeds they're starting . . . they'll be blogging about all the things Carol lists in her post.
Carol said…
Chuck... I can only imagine your rebuttal.

Pam... It is nice how it all works out. I think gardeners adapt to wherever the end up gardening. (Right, Annie in Austin?)

Bare Bones Gardener... See, you have a dreaming (or is it drinking) season, too!

Kathy... So true? Remember all the "seedy posts" last January?

Carol, May Dreams Gardens
Annie in Austin said…
This might be the wrong time to ask if we adapt to where we garden, Carol! I just came in from watering the pots and the newly made beds, raking and mulching leaves, [with 2/3 of them still stuck on and green]. The outside lights are up, but nothing else yet. Phooie.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose
I think I like my garden best during the Dreaming Season. It's all excited anticipation, not disappointment with the reality of Columbine sawfly larva, slugs, potato beetles, rabbits, & drought.
Me said…
exactly - I got my first tomato seed catalog the week before Thanksgiving... :)