Most garden enthusiasts, including this one are much more excited about spring than winter. The weather is milder and the sense of anticipation more acute. With a good imagination you can see those seeds you have carefully planted spring forth into the beautiful flowers you had in mind when you planted them.
There is nearly always something to do in a garden and our garden and waterfall retreat here in our Asheville Bed and Breakfast is no exception.
There is a palette to work with in the winter nearly impossible to see in the summer. All the perennial plants that will later become lush, large and beautiful are more easily identified and hence easier to plan around. Considerations of size, color & distribution are easier to formulate when things are not as dense.
Here is a list from this innkeeper in love with her garden to help in your own:
Watch out for snow piling on evergreens. It can weigh them down, break the branches and create permanent damage. Knock the snow off starting at the bottom branches working your way up. Avoid doing this if the branches are iced over. Patience and melting will provide a far better result.
If your trees really get weighted down and they are simply splayed out, there are some things to try. Dust off the snow and use wood supports for large branches or pantyhose for smaller jobs. We actually saved a Cherry tree that would have been a goner with the wood supports. Simply restore the large branches upward to their natural position and use the wood as a brace.
Now, when you are not using them every single day, is a perfect moment to tend to your garden tools. Sharpen, clean and oil and they will be cooperative partners come spring rather than malcontents that don't work well providing a source of irritation. Don't wait until spring when all these items will be needed to realize you need another shovel or to replace the wood handles. Now is the time.
Wash all your garden gloves. If fabric, most will weather the washing machine just fine. If leather, wipe off gross amounts of dirt with a soft brush and soften with a leather emollient if stiff.
We do a lot of seed starting here At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn. Check out your seed pots, get them ready and make sure you have grow lights that work if you plan to use them. Bleach the trays with 10% bleach solution and rinse well avoiding any disease or fungal problems. Nothing is so disheartening as to realize, much time and effort has been expended and your seedlings are weak,unhealthy and will produce poor plants
Now, to the very best part. If you are a gardener- you, like me, are already receiving those glorious catalogs. Do not delay until spring to order those seeds you simply must have. Likely the seeds you have decided you cannot live without will not be there in spring because you have such good taste others thought they couldn't live without them either.
After months of cold, miserable weather I can nearly see my new spring garden. NEARLY, being the operative word. The last and most important step is: The Plan.
Write down your vision. Sometimes, it is perfect but more often, it needs some revision. It is so much easier to see that on paper than once something is ordered and planted. Give both your seeds and your plants the very best opportunity to thrive by thoughtful choice of plants, seeds and location. The best, most beautiful and most wanted plant in the world will not do well if what it requires is not provided. Don't put a plant in the sun that won't do well there. Don't put arid plants right next to plants that require more moisture.
That cute saying about people, "bloom where you're planted" is always accomplished best in the plant kingdom if some consideration is given to plant requirements.
Happy Gardening from the innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn. May your garden be everything you hoped for and more!
Patti and Gary Wiles
Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls