10 Ways to Weather Winter

This Article Provided by Angelina.

The hubbub of the holidays may have distracted you from the dearth of winter gardening opportunities, but just in time, as the lows that follow the sugar rush from a feast of festive treats threatens to dump you into horticultural doldrums, here’s City Gardening’s annual list of ways to keep your green thumb growing through the depths of winter.


1. Visit a Greenhouse

For an instant injection of spring, there’s nothing like taking a walk through a greenhouse. One of the loveliest is right here in the heart of the city at Allan Gardens Conservatory. You know – it’s that glasshouse you glance at as you whiz along Jarvis Street on the way to somewhere else. This winter, make it your destination. You’ll be amazing at the variety of tropical plants and desert-dwellers.

2. The second-best way to get ready for springtime is to take a gardening course. The Toronto Botanical Garden’s Spring Program Guide offers so many courses, from pruning workshops to armchair travel, you’ll fill your calendar in no time!

3. Take Stock

Winter is the perfect time to organize photos of your garden and take stock of which plants performed well and which ones were under performers. During the growing season, it’s easy to be so awed by a colourful clump of perennials that you turn a blind eye to a sulky plant or a difficult corner of the garden. Looking at your garden through photographs gives you a truer picture of what needs to be done, so sort through those photos and starting making your spring to-do list!

4. Take a Walk

At some point, you’ll have to brave the wintry outdoors. The Toronto Field Naturalists make it easy for you to experience nature up-close. Throughout the winter, the volunteer organization hosts walks led by various members who share their expertise by identifying birds and trees along the trails. Upcoming walks include High Park, Humber Bay East and Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.

5. Watch a movie

On a snowy evening, curl up in front of the flickering television and watch a gardening movie. From films with a gardening theme – my favourites include Saving Grace and A New Leaf – and armchair tours of some of the best gardens around the world (Audrey Hepburn’s classic series, Gardens of the World, comes to mind) to more serious fare such as the pesticides ban documentary A Chemical Reaction, there’s enough to declare one night a week gardening night in Canada.

6. Listen In

With access to so much online content, it’s easy to listen in to gardening shows from anywhere in the world. Some of the best are from the United Kingdom, where lucky gardeners watch daffodils bloom in February. BBC hosts several call-in shows (Gardener’s Question Time is often a hoot), which are available through podcasts at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer and you can even watch hunky Matthew Wilson, a.k.a. Landscape Man, on Channel 4.

7. Learn a Lesson

At one time, watching amateur how-to videos was at best comical and often misleading. But a quick Google search turns up some surprisingly instructive videos created by landscape experts. Some of the best include Patti Moreno’s Gardening Girl TV, PBS’s Garden Smart and Gardening Australia.

8. Read a Book or Magazine

During the gardening season, magazines and new books pile up on a table in my office, patiently waiting for winter when, I swear, they know I’ll finally have time to open and read them. At the top of the pile are the November issue of the Royal Horticulture Society’s The Garden and the spring issue of GardenMaking magazine. The View from Great Dixter and Growing tasty tropical plants heads the stack of books, as well as a pre-publication copy of Serving Up…No-Guff Vegetable Gardening by Donna Balzer and Steven Biggs.

9. Tend a Houseplant

Although I admit to being the worst indoor gardener ever, I know there are those among you who have a real knack for growing houseplants – and I envy your talents. Walk through the indoor plant department of any nursery this winter and take home whatever catches your eye – from traditional favourites like African violets to exotic tropicals such as clivias, you’re sure to find a charmer.

10. See Canada Blooms

An annual harbinger of spring, the Canada Blooms Flower and Garden Festival gives me hope that winter is coming to an end. Teamed with the National Home Show, this year Canada Blooms runs for 10 glorious days, from March 16 to 25 at the Direct Energy Building on the grounds of the CNE. It can’t come too soon.

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