Snowflakes are gently falling outside my window. By morning the world will look washed clean under the soft white blanket. I look forward to the hushed beauty that will greet me in the morning.
At this moment the memory of cool earth between my fingers and the clean smell of the soft brown soil has faded a bit. As much as I’d rather be gardening and prefer summer, there is something about fresh fallen snow that provides a thrill. Even though I can’t dig in the soil now there are still plenty of things to do that will satisfy the gardener in me.
January is a new beginning in so many ways. The year begins with rest, beauty, and the beginning of unseen growth. It looks like everything has ceased but there’s still plenty of life in the soil. Life is hiding, just waiting for spring.
Enjoying winter as a gardener is quite a treat and a very different experience than enjoying the summer garden. We are able to observe and enjoy rather than being busy tending. Here are 6 ways we can enjoy winter in the garden, even if we’d rather be gardening in the warm sun.
Enjoy winter snowscapes.
The summer garden is beautiful but there is nothing more breathtaking than a well-designed garden blanketed in glistening snow. Now is the time to take it all in and notice the elements that make a garden come alive in the winter.
Notice what is beautiful in nature as well as gardens other people have created. Evergreen trees and shrubs, interesting branching patterns, trellises and vines, statues, and rock materials all keep interest in the garden.
There’s nothing more disappointing than a flat snow-covered space where a beautiful perennial bed lives in the summer. Ideally, you will create a space that is interesting and beautiful all year long. If you have a garden that disappears in the winter, observe other gardens and natural surroundings to get ideas. Then transform your gardens come spring.
Winter is the best time to plan, sketch, and design.
Feed the birds.
Taking care of God’s creatures is a privilege that returns many times over. Hanging a bird feeder or suet cage is a great way to help the birds though the winter and brings pleasure to the day. It’s quite enjoyable to see what kind of birds come to the feeders and watch them enjoy their seeds.
The spectacular colors of the males paired with the dynamic between the bird couples makes for a fun way to pass a few hours in the frigid winter months.
Even more fun than feeding is watching them in a heated bird bath, bathing and drinking. Keeping a field guide handy to track what kind of birds visit your yard is especially fun, too.
Forage for winter interest sprigs to bring indoors.
The same plants that create winter interest in the landscape are often the same plants that can be foraged and brought inside to create a vase or centerpiece for your table.
Evergreen branches, grasses, ornamental fruit branches that have set buds, and seed pods all can grace your table with a seasonal flair. Combine with some store bought blooms and you will add some extra cheer.
The best part is those plants are long lasting and can be enjoyed for weeks. You can cut some each time you’re out on a hike and keep adding as you go through the season, collecting interesting sprigs as you find them.
Winter is a great time to force bulbs.
Spring bulbs herald the coming pleasant weather and spark hope within our souls. While all is still and quiet, the bulbs buried deep in the ground are preparing for their colorful show.
They need a cold period to initiate blooms and that can be done inside, too. You can simulate that cold period by putting the bulbs into your fridge for a few weeks and then plant them indoors. White Flower Farms has an excellent tutorial on forcing bulbs if you want instructions.
You will be able to watch them grow and bloom right on your table. The thrill of gardening comes from watching things grow just as much as the flowers and food that is produced. Forcing bulbs is a great way to enjoy that thrill during the winter.
Hikes and walks help you enjoy winter.
Movement, exercise, fresh air, and sunshine are very common in the summertime as we work in our gardens. It’s easy to hibernate when the weather is cold and there are no gardening tasks on our to-do list.
But it’s still really important to get out and about during the winter. Taking walks and/or hikes are great ways to find ideas for creating winter interest in your own garden. It’s also important to keep yourself in good shape so that you are good to go when the spring comes around.
Nature is so good for our soul and offers a refreshment that just cannot be received any other way. It’s a great way to spend time with the Lord, too, and just be in awe of His creation.
Practice your photography skills with winter scenes.
While you’re spending time outdoors, make sure you are on the lookout for scenes of winter interest. Don’t forget to take pictures of those landscapes that catch your eye. You will want to capture those ideas for use in your own garden next year.
Winter is a great time to develop a new hobby and photography is a great companion to gardening. The best part is you don’t even need any special equipment. Your phone camera is a great place to start and it’s easy to learn some pro tips and techniques to improve your skill.
Who knows, photography might even turn into an income stream to cover your gardening hobby!
Enjoying the winter garden.
Winter is a gift on so many levels. It’s a time to revisit, replenish, refresh, rework, and redesign. It’s a time to embrace the growth that is coming. Here are six ways you can enjoy winter as a gardener:
- Enjoy winter snowscapes
- Feed the birds
- Forage for winter interest sprigs to bring indoors
- Winter is a great time to force bulbs
- Hikes and walks help you enjoy winter
- Practice your photography skills with winter scenes
Take advantage of this winter season and enjoy. We’ll be smelling that clean dirt and feeling the softness of the soil soon enough!
What is your favorite way to enjoy winter? Tell me in the comments below!