Looking Forward to Next Year
Winter has settled in, we've had our first snowfall, and the time we spent in the garden already seems a distant memory. If you're like me, you're already looking wistfully out your windows into your garden. Maybe you're wishing you'd spent more time there when you had the chance, before everything froze over. Maybe you're already dreaming of what you can do in the spring. In the bustle of holiday shopping, baking, and whatever else your family does, it's amazing that dreams of gardening can still sneak their way in. There are some things you can do to satisfy that not-quite-dormant gardening bug.
1. Order your seed catalogs
Even if you don't order from catalogs often, and you prefer to go to the garden center, you should still get a couple of catalogs. (See our review of the best seed catalogs.) For one thing, they usually arrive in January, weeks before the garden centers have their seeds out. This is great for planning. You can look through them and see which varieties interest you, what you would like to try new this year. From your catalogs, you can make a list, so you are organized when you finally do get to shop for your seeds. Another thing is, seed catalogs offer so much more variety than garden centers do. The first seed catalog I ever ordered completely blew me away at how much is out there, if you only look a little bit. If nothing else, seed catalogs give us the opportunity to daydream about our garden as we flip though the pages. That is reason enough for me.
2. Visit a conservatory.
I go to the Anna Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle because it's close to me, and I love it. You can see everything from jungle plants to desert plants all in one place. And, as a bonus, if you go near the holidays, you can see their gorgeous poinsettia display.
3. Read a good gardening book or magazine.
Again, take a look at our Reviews section for some ideas. Some of my absolute favorite books are the books published by Lone Pine Publishing: Perennials for Michigan, Annuals for Michigan, and Gardening Month by Month in Michigan. It is fun just to leaf through them when you get a gardening itch.
4. Turn to houseplants.
When the gardening season is going, I could care less about the plants in my house. I have let more than my fair share of African Violets die of neglect between April and October. But once I can't be outside anymore, I start to appreciate houseplants a lot more. It never fails that once the weather is cold, I start buying houseplants. This is not a great time of year to buy them, because they could suffer shock from being transported out in the cold, but I can't help myself. If you decide to buy plants, make sure they are wrapped well before you leave the garden center, and get them into a nice warm house as soon as possible. Don't be surprised by a bit of leaf drop, as this is inevitable. Of course, you can kill two birds with one stone here: buy a Norfolk Island Pine, which are everywhere this time of year. You can decorate it with tiny ornaments and garlands for the holidays, and then enjoy it as a houseplant the rest of the year!
5. There's always TV.
I don't know what I would do without HGTV in the winter. I can watch someone else garden while I snuggle under my fleece blankets. Besides HGTV, if you live in the Grosse Pointes or Harper Woods, check out WMTV5 (War Memorial TV, channel 5 on cable) and look fro Mil Anthony's show, "Pointes of Horticulture." I know it's on at 9:30 am and 9:30 pm daily. I love having a local gardening show, and Mil is great. Also, remember that "The Victory Garden" is on PBS.
So, there are five things to do to tide you over until you can start again. Be happy, because seed-starting will begin before you know it. Enjoy the winter, and take a look at how beautiful your garden can be under a blanket of snow. ITGO