Most discussions about the winter months for gardeners tend to revolve around perusing seed catalogs while curled up with your favorite tea or coffee. There’s nothing like taking a well-deserved break this time of the year and dreaming of next year’s garden glories.
However, don’t let the temptations of that cozy comforter keep you from missing out on opportunities that only the winter can provide. Lace up your boots and pull that cap down over your ears. We are heading outdoors to enjoy the winter!
Look at trees
With all the leaves gone you can actually see the branch structure of the trees in your area. The growth habits are so different between tree species; dense or open, upright or spreading, straight or gnarled. The branch structure lends as much to the personality of a tree as much as size and leaf color.
Check out your landscape beds
With all the annuals and perennials gone you can see the ‘bones’ of the mulched areas. Look at the outlines of your beds. It is often in the winter that you can see if you need to change the curves of the design or extend the bed farther out.
Take care of your tools
Scrub off any soil or debris from shovels, spades, rakes, and trowels. Do the same with pruners and shears. Then add a lubricating oil to any moving parts. Clean out the grass from under the mower. Store in a dry place until spring.
Finish raking leaves
Wait for a dry day to get the rest of the leaves off the ground. Matted leaves left on the lawn will smother the grass underneath, resulting in bare patches that you will have to reseed in the spring. Leaves can also be a winter chalet for insects that will become pests later in the year.
Feed the birds
The birds will appreciate the extra snacks at a time when their food source is scarce. It’s fun to watch their flurried antics at a time when there isn’t much life. Also, the colors of their feathers seem more dramatic against the bland background of winter.
Go ahead and make a second cup and enjoy those garden magazines and catalogs. But don’t let the imagined dreams of tomorrow keep you from enjoying the seasonal pleasures of today.