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Winter Gardening

March 4, 2013


I am ready for spring. There, I’ve said it. I basically don’t have much use for winter if it’s not snowing and as of today, the D.C. area has gotten like .00000015 of an inch of snow. No sledding, no ice skating, no snowmen! The most snow I have seen was being pushed in front of the mini-Zamboni at a nearby skating rink. So move along cold wind and freezing rain. Time for warmer breezes and springtime!

People often say that it must be nice to do what I do because you “…Can’t do anything in the winter”. It’s true that January is pretty quiet (welcome after the insanity of fall installations and getting folks’ houses ready for the holidays), but February and March are vital planning times. If you’re looking to install a new project for use come summer, it makes sense to start planning in January and February. That way your designer can get all of the drawings ready, permits issued, and materials chosen—all to make sure the contractor can jump at the first warm days and get things completed by the time the really warm weather comes around.


And even if you’re just thinking about moving some plants around in your back garden bed, or planting a vegetable garden, February is the best time for planning, and March is almost too late!

I managed to catch up on my garden maintenance last week, cutting back the leftover stalks of Asters and Anemones and giving all of my ornamental grasses a haircut. I did some pruning of flowering trees (since you can see the overall structure of the tree or shrub, pruning in the winter is often recommended), and cleaned out the winter’s accumulated trash out of the beds. It’s amazing what blows in over a season. I’ve noted which plants I will move around when the weather’s a bit warmer (the Hardy Hibiscus (H. moschuetos) has got to move to the back of the border—it’s getting too big!), and I’m keeping an eye on the plants I transplanted in the fall to make sure they’re still doing ok.

I have already received one shipment of vegetable seeds and am waiting on another. My seed starting trays are ready to go and I’ve been thinking about how I will lay out my vegetable garden this year. I plan to grow: tomatoes (of course! A mix of heirlooms and tried-and-true standard varieties), lots of peppers (my husband makes an incredible hot pepper sauce from them), cucumbers (for pickling), kale, lettuces, chard, snap peas and Roma beans. I know I have to get a move on because the Hyacinths and Daffodils surrounding my vegetable plot are coming up.


So, see, there’s always something to do for or in the garden! That’s what makes it so wonderful.


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