Beating the Pacific Northwest Mid-Winter Gardening Blues


Camellias at the Bellevue Botanical Garden

I grew up on the east coast where we had snow on the ground for weeks at a time and I spent much of the winter outside sledding and making snowmen. Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I find myself staying indoors during our rainy winters. It’s easy to get into a slump and become a couch potato until spring, but after a while I get a little stir-crazy. Luckily, our mild climate up here in the Pacific Northwest keep things growing year-round, giving gardeners plenty to do during the rainy, winter months. Here are some ways I like to beat the mid-winter gardening blues:

  • clean leaves out of my flower beds
  • trim dead flower stalks (leave some for birds)
  • sweep debris off my deck
  • clean moss and mildew off my outdoor furniture (I leave it outside year-round)
  • pick up branches in my yard
  • plan my vegetable garden
  • dig a new flower bed while the ground is soft (I dig a new one almost every year) and cover it with compost or bark
  • walk around my property to see what’s budding or blooming; I love looking for my spring bulbs coming up and buds forming on my camellias and magnolias
  • clean out my hanging baskets from last year and add new soil to prep them for planting in spring
  • go for walks on sunny days
  • visit a public garden that’s open year-round (public gardens open year-round in Western Washington include the Bloedel Reserve, the gardens at Point Defiance Park, the Bellevue Botanical Garden, the Seattle Arboretum, Kubota Garden, the Seattle College Arboretum, the Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens, and Meerkerk Gardens.

My book, Walking Washington’s Gardens, is a great resource to help you plan visits to gardens in Washington State. The book includes color photos, driving directions, descriptions, and garden events for 30 stroll gardens throughout the state that are open to the public. For information on how to get a copy, click here.

Winter doesn’t have to feel as blah as it looks. Getting outside will make you feel better and help you get a head start on your garden beds so they will be ready to prosper come summer.


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