Learn to Appreciate the Winter Garden

With the winter season gardening activity is much reduced which gives us an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the gentler pace. Instead of the constant tending of our plants we have the time to “stand and stare” and fully appreciate the plants that are active at this season. This article by Jodi which I came across on the Garden Simply website explains her ways to appreciate the winter garden and her fondness for hellebores.

Two words bring together my feelings about gardening: appreciation and fascination. At the end of December, when time seems compressed and hasty, tasks are many and quiet moments few, the garden gives us time to appreciate a slower, gentler pace.

Appreciation means, to me, looking closely at plants, sensing the feel of damp winter air, listening for a chickadee’s cheerful song, and reveling in the serenity of a garden. My garden’s on Capitol Hill in Seattle, surrounded by houses and city activity, but it offers quiet, a moment to sit in the copper-roofed rain shelter during early dusk and savor the silence falling into the earth along with rain.

Touring a nursery will also provide a sense of calm, as you breathe in extra oxygen provided by plants in masses, and learn what blooms in your area’s gardens during this time of year. I think of nurseries as places to get refreshed, so don’t forget to visit your favorite during the holidays. Thank the staff for their year-round efforts. (Take them some holiday cookies!)

Lately, I have been seeking hellebores, plants contributing to my winter appreciation of the garden. Hellebores, perennial flowering plants, provide great “winter watching.” These perennials, ancient residents of central Europe (the Alps and the Balkans, as well as Corsica and Majorca), open translucent flowers of many different tones in mid-winter and often provide nearly evergreen leaves throughout the year. Generally, hellebores thrive in shady, well-drained spots with good organic soil amendments. They grow best in a slightly “limey” soil (with lime added to bring the pH up to at least 6.0 or above). Adding 5 pounds of dolomitic lime to 100 square feet of soil every three years seems to suit them fine. You don’t need to lime yearly. And though they like lime, they seem unexacting and will grow without it. Be sure you check the soil drainage –by no means are these successful bog plants!

See more at Garden Simply

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