Beating the Mid-Winter Gardening Blues


Camellias at the Bellevue Botanical Garden

As summer comes to an end, it’s easy for gardeners to get into a slump and abandon their yards and gardens until warm weather returns. Fortunately, there are a lot of gardening tasks you can do during the cold months. It’s a good time of year to clean out and prep beds, cut back ornamental grasses and ferns, prune trees, clean up yard debris, and visit public gardens for inspiration. Here are some things I like to do 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
  • pick up branches in my yard
  • plan my vegetable garden for the next growing season
  • buy seeds
  • make some evergreen swags for Christmas decorations
  • 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
  • visit a public garden that’s open year-round. Public gardens that are open year-round in Washington State include the Bloedel Reserve (on Bainbridge Island), the gardens at Point Defiance Park (in Tacoma), the Wright Conservatory (in Tacoma), the Bellevue Botanical Garden, the Seattle Arboretum, Kubota Garden (in South Seattle), the South Seattle College Arboretum (in West Seattle) , the Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens (in Everett), Meerkerk Gardens (on Whidbey Island), the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (in Federal Way), the Yakima Area Arboretum, the Lawson Gardens (in Pullman), and Manito Park and Gardens (in Spokane)

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.