Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Winter Gardening Principles

I had the pleasure of presenting a program on Winter Gardening to my garden club this past February and thought I would take the opportunity to share it with you all too. The principles will take up a few posts as it would be too much to put all in one post.

The program was very important to me as I was quite honored to be presenting to my garden club, unfortunately it was a traumatic time too. The program had been on the calendar for nearly one year, but Jimmy, unbeknownst to me, had signed up for the Spelling Bee at his school. He won and was to represent his school in the County Spelling Bee. Do you know the County Spelling Bee just happened to be scheduled the same night as my garden club program? It was cold and stressful that evening trying to be in two places at once. Jimmy placed sixth in the County Spelling Bee then we immediately sped over to the Women's Club for my program.

The program went off without a hitch and all was well. But then I got sick (I almost NEVER get sick and I just know I got sick from the running around and the cold) and I lost my voice for more than one week. Those of you in school with me will remember I could not present our project or even talk. Jimmy loved it his mom had no voice. I hope I don't ever go through that again. If you have never lost your voice, consider yourself lucky, if you have, then you know the pain. I only share this story with you so you will know this winter gardening program is very memorable for me. This is the first of several posts on Winter Gardening. Not only will I cover the four principles of winter gardening, but I will conclude with a plant list which will provide the gardener with winter interest.

My mother will be bored stiff as these posts will be all about gardening. So all you commenters out there be sure to leave lots of comments as she enjoys the comment part of the blog MOST! You know in Maine I don't think they do too much winter gardening, but the principles remain the same no matter where you live and garden-even in northern Canada so she should pay attention!

There is a saying that any gardener can have a good looking garden in the spring, but most gardeners want their garden to look good through the spring, summer, fall and even the winter. Gardeners need not stop gardening in the winter and their gardens can shine this time of the year just like in the spring. True, herbaceous perennials are fast asleep underground dreaming about the glory they will spew forth once the conditions become favorable again. The branches of deciduous trees are bare. The lighting is different and things seem dreary. It need not be this way though. The key is in capitalizing on things you have and making vignettes which will not change much in the wintertime.

Winter gardening has to be thought out carefully, but even if you don't plan specifically for winter gardening, you will find some interesting and beautiful things in your garden that help to keep you close to the garden all through the year.

The four principles I use when planning for a winter garden are: structure, form, texture and color. Over the next four posts I will describe each one in detail and give you some examples of how you can apply them to your garden to ensure your winter garden looks good and beckons you out into even on the coldest winter days. I will end my Winter Gardening Program by posting a list of plants I find interesting in the winter garden. No one principle is more important than another but some may be more important in your garden depending on where you live and what you already have in place. For now you can find me shivering...

in the garden....


  1. Tina, I love all of this blog but you are probably right that the comments are my favorite. I still read all of the post and do enjoy it. I just am not able to garden much any more but I can dream and compare to what I used to do. Hopefully I will save all the infor for my next life. lol. It also brings back good memories of when I did garden and some things about my mother. Therefore, never bored. Love ya.

  2. Which by the way, Tina Nana is where you get your love of a garden from. I remember one time after we built our house. For probably the first time ever I had an interest in gardening and Nana was here. I started digging to plant some daylilies and I said "Oh that earth smells so good." Nana said "Oh I will make a gardner out of you yet". But I never became one like you, Dawn or Nana. You both got it from her and Dawn with her sewing and crafts. But I think Nana's first love was the sewing.

  3. Of course I got my love for gardening from Nana. I can always remember her front perennial border in front of the wrap around porch. It had a peony on the corner. Then of course the two huge elms, that sadly had to be cut down due to Dutch Elm Disease.

    She was a great gardener but I could not imagine gardening a vegetable garden as big as hers! I still remember weeding and it is not a good memory as weeding is hard work-even for a gardener.

    I also got my love for painting from her. Gardens are the spirit of souls living on and I firmly believe Nana can see me in my gardens. I know I see her in my peonies and brown eyes. I wish I could grow statice and strawflowers like she did but I don't have enough sun or maybe it is too humid down here. I will have to settle for the peonies and brown eyes to find my grandmother.

    One thing I never ever got from her was sewing-yuck! Hate it! I am glad Dawn likes to sew and do crafts. It can be rewarding but for me I want to get dirty in the dirt and smell the earth.

  4. Too funny, I was thinking when I read what Mom wrote..Nana didn't take me to the veggie garden for help. Told me I would get dirty. I think gardeners have to be spiritual earthy people and seamstresses are emotional dreamy people. Remember your favorite song when we were young? And mine? that might sum it up! I never promised you a rose garden, and Raindrops keep falling on my head. Nana Was a versatile person, she liked to be good at everything she did, I remember her peonies and dutch elm also. I remember Baba burning the field grass 2x a year, can"t do that today! Not even to enrich the soil, have to get pesticides and go the looong way around.
    Well, gotta go find the solution to rubiks cube for my daughter, never did figure that one out.

  5. I can't believe you remember my favorite song-still is! Good ole Lynn Anderson comes on and I just have to belt it out-poor anyone who is around.

    I kind of agree with your take on gardeners and seamstresses. But to me both are going to be frugal and practical as well as spiritual and dreamy. We grew up in a time the land of plenty was not the land of plenty and we had to appreciate what we had. Maybe that is why we do so much for ourselves and are independent?

  6. Good take on things girls.

    Forgot about the painting, Tina but you are right. But the peonies...there were 3 or 4 in the front.

    Dawn, not only Nana had to be good at what she did, so did Baba. Perfect is actually a better word. Tom S says I have ocd about doing things right and I tell him I come honestly by it. It drove me nuts when I was growing up!!

    Love you, girls. Bye til tomorrow.

  7. Oh darn I forgot. I always like that song also and still do. When Nana and I went to Ontario we saw Bob Hope and Lynn Anderson. Great show for $2.00!!!Your read it right. TWO DOLLARS! She is a little bit of a thing. Was shocked by that. Nite