It’s deep winter and not much is happening in the garden.
Now, that’s not a surprise to you, is it?

How do you feel about the extended break from being out in the garden? I’ve been wondering how others feel about this and how, and what, you do in this “down” time. I know, there are seed catalogs arriving almost every day. And there are gorgeous magazines to pour over and pick up ideas and advice. You can sketch out a new garden or how you might redo a certain area.

And yet….it IS a time when you can feel in limbo. Do you feel a kind of relief that no, you don’t have to be out there every day and can spend the time doing other things? Do you feel these few months are a sort of gift?

Or, do you feel bored and ready to get on with it? Are you getting kind of restless with nothing to do?

Meanwhile, just after I started writing this post, THE SNOW EVENT came to my area! We measured 9″ on our terrace. Really, it was as though we had gone back up North to the Hudson Valley! We even have the very same snow shovel we used there for years (and thought we would never use again…ha…)



Yours truly after shoveling snow followed by a walk in the park where it was magical and quiet.

Back to the subject at hand:

One of the things I love about being out in the garden is the early morning time. I am a morning person, especially when it is light so early. I love getting up before six AM, quickly getting dressed in long pants, long sleeves and hat and heading outside. The day is new. The heat is minimal. Not many people are out and about. It’s just about the best time ever. And in the winter I miss that; I miss the morning and I miss that quiet, sunny, meditative time.

But, of course, I know it will come again. In the meantime I get up a little later when it’s still almost dark, and head to the gym. Hmmmm….not quite the same, but it will do!

Back to my question for all you gardeners out there: how do YOU feel about the winter break?


  1. Hi Libby………… a resident of ‘up North to the Hudson Valley’ I was certainly struck by how similar our vistas are at the moment.

    For myself, my horticultural interests extend beyond what most American garden centers sell (my first mistake was to subscribe to the English magazine Gardens Illustrated).

    I started germinating seeds of things I was interested in myself; but soon realized my own housing limitations on space and light and warmth and found instead a tame nursery to germinate and grow on the seeds that I’d chosen. For the last seven years or so I’ve purchased seeds from various companies around the world and at a point in the autumn, hand them over to the grower with information about how many of each plant I’d ultimately like. Perennials need to be started earlier than annuals — though I do grow a few annuals. If I ask, the greenhouse will oblige me with the occasional photo of how all my little seedlings are faring.

    Come May, I pick up however many versions of what I’ve chosen and they’re almost always large enough to plant into the garden without concern.

    Typically, the greenhouse charges me their standard rate for the pot size the plants are in. Or rather, they don’t charge me extra for the germination or house time. Some seeds haven’t germinated at all; but I’ve steeled myself to this.

    Most of my winter is spent looking at catalogues and reading Gardens Illustrated and educating myself about new varieties of things. But my seed-growing caper certainly absorbs me during the autumn in the choosing, and the occasional update and snapshot during the darkest days — of nature taking her course.

    • Kate: Oh my, you have me thinking!! What a fabulous idea. To really be able to have JUST what you want is wonderful. Love the idea of them taking a pic or two of the little plants! I actually do know someone who has a fairly large greenhouse and supplies Coleus to a nursery. That’s all he does. And he offered to grow some of my Hyacinth Bean seeds when he saw them in September. So…maybe I can ask him to start some of my new Zinnias from Floret. And, I must add, I have you to thank for Gardens Illustrated which has become one of my treasured magazines (among many….too many!) Thank you for the very thoughtful comment and great idea! Happy growing, my friend.

  2. January is PRUNING MONTH in CALIFORNIA and I did some today!The rain came so in I went and made a QUICHE!I tend to eat all the BAD stuff that arrived over the HOLIDAYS this month.Just down a brick of TOFFEE!
    I love pruning and thinking about what needs re-doing!
    I am VERY HAPPY I do not have to deal with SNOW!
    You look cozy and warm!
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  3. There are no winter breaks in my area of the country. Winter for us in coastal Southern California usually means rain but those breaks are short and this year there’s been VERY little rain (just 1.27/inch since October 1st in my location). I often envy gardeners in colder climates, not just for the plants some can grow that I can’t (like peonies!), but also for the down-time to sit back and plan changes to the garden, plant choices and the like. Here, one feels there’s little time for that as the garden, like a siren, never ceases its call.