A successful winter gardener

How to be a successful winter gardener. Talk to yourself gently but firmly. No nonsense. Ignore the coldness outdoors. Six degrees Celsius is nothing. This is not the middle of Canada. The garden is still green! Put on warm gardening clothes and go out there.

 Still some Oak leaves to rake up.
Duck Lawn in Winter

But first make a list, make a list! When in doubt, make a list. Whatever the season, make a list.

My Winter Gardening List

Make sure that all the items in the list require considerable movement, which will warm the winter gardener up. A thought - if the bonfire is started later in the day then its heat will counteract the dropping temperatures.

Wet gardening?

Another thing to consider : if it is drippy or drizzly, then why not embrace the wetness, put on waders, and do wet gardening. Go into the water race to finish cleaning up the edges. Find something watery to do.

 That water is pretty cold - snow melt from the mountains.
WiIllow Bridge over the Water Race

For example, dig out more ferns and Carexes. Dig up and move the purple Japanese Irises, and replant them in a sunnier place by Duck Lawn.

How NOT to be a successful winter gardener :

Analyse how to be one, then spend ages writing up the rules and creating hypothetical lists, when in reality one is warm and cosy indoors in front of the log-burner drinking lots of cups of hot tea.

 Ferns ready to go brown.
Winter in the Garden

Much later...

Have been clearing out the Welcome Garden, cutting down dead Pittospoums, trimming overgrown Hebes etc. The trailer is already full with mess for the bonfire. NGP chain-sawed down some smallish dead trees - the logs are going straight into the house for firewood.


Almost ready to weed, I sat down in the longish grass to clear the edge ready for the shovel. Ouch! Got stung on the bottom (through my gardening jeans) by a bumble bee! What on earth it was doing there in the grass in mid-winter? Have come inside to sulk. Ouch! OUCH! Right. One last session, before it gets too cold and the light gets too dim.

Ten minutes later...

Nope. When one has been bitten on the bottom by a bee one is allowed to stop gardening, have a shower, and warm up in front of the log burner with a detective story. The weather's gone cold and spitty anyway. Feel rather guilty about that bumble - hope it will be OK.

 All tidied up.
Tricolor Phormium in Winter

Tuesday 21st June

Only had the afternoon to do any gardening (was helping a friend all morning), and totally ran out of daylight. Spread eight bags of horse manure, added a covering layer of shreddings. Almost mulched my new two dollar breadknife - phew! Spotted the glint of silver just in time. Tried to dig out The Pilgrim rose. He wouldn't budge, so I dumped a whole bag of manure around him. So be it. I might buy a replacement to plant over in The Hump where all my happy roses live. Then I lit the log-burner, washed my hair, put on warm socks and my cosy Ugg boots. Lovely rewards.

Wednesday 22nd June

A busy, busy morning with swimming, coffee, chamber music, and a meeting. Home mid-afternoon to two very bored dogs and the coldest house. Temperature outside six degrees. Noticed that I haven't been taking many winter garden photographs. Oops - will try to get back on visual track at least. Wait. No I won't. Camera battery is flat. Oh well. Crank up the log-burner. It is, after all, the winter solstice. Might not do any gardening. 'Til tomorrow, then.