What is your favorite garden – spring, summer, fall, winter, or an indoor garden?
I love them all equally. Every year in the spring, I have big plans for my summer and winter garden. I'm talking about BIG plans. By fall, I've lost track of all those plans and I'm looking sadly at my winter garden and wondering where I went wrong. Not this year.
This last weekend I went to the Oregon Garden Resort (a great place to go, by the way) on a writers' retreat, and guess what I was thinking about? You guessed it! My winter garden, which I left behind for the weekend, overgrown with leftover summer plants and fading bulb greenery that needs to be dug up and split (the bulbs, not the dying greenery). They need to be replanted now or, in the case of the bulbs saved for next year's spring planting. When I got home, it was all covered in early snow, but once the basic cleanup is done and the garden is cleared of summer debris then it will be time to decide what to do to get the garden ready for winter hibernation.
The first thing: If I get nothing else done this year, I really want to prep the raised gardens. I recently picked up cedar tub planters (pictured here) and larger cedar beds for this project. I plan to paint them with a sealer, then find a place for them somewhere out back. I think I'll get the tub planters ready for strawberries, and the larger raised beds, one for blueberries (next spring) and the other for winter vegetables, like kale, arugula, greens, broccoli, turnips, and ornamental cabbage, depending on what I can find this late in the year.
Just so you know, I'm not an expert by any means, so my approach is totally experimental, and based on memories I have of making gardens with my mother and father-in-law, who have both passed on.
The second idea: if you live in Oregon, for your winter garden, you might consider planting Hellebore (known as Christmas rose or Lenten rose), winter flowering heather, pansies, winter Camellia—a flowering evergreen shrub, winter Daphne—also an evergreen shrub with pink blooms and a powerful fragrance. Again, this late in the year, finding specific plants may be a challenge, but I'm definitely going to look for Christmas rose, winter flowering heather, and winter Camellia. An additional challenge for this year's winter garden is that in the spring I'm planning a front garden makeover. I may have to wait to find and plant the new plants once that's done.
The third thing to consider: I am a huge fan of garden villages (so to speak). So for the winter garden, I'm planning to add several charming birdhouses and hummingbird feeders (I put them on my Christmas list). Some other fun additions would be small twinkle lights, solar garden lights, garden ornaments, old farm implements, and even a little more ambitious, a gazebo or greenhouse. For me, these two are tied to phase two or three of my garden remodel.
So that's it for this project in the winter garden. If you have ideas you've tried, please leave a note. Learning gardeners want to know :) Until next time, have fun in your garden, whether it's outdoors or indoors.