Monday, December 20, 2010

And the Gardener Must Rest

It's that time of the year again, when you get a major dumping of snow that persists for days on end that you're forced not to do much in the garden, apart from the occasional inspection and shaking off of snow to make sure damage remains minimal.

Winter is not just about the cold and plants going into dormancy till spring arrives, it's also about the Gardener being forced by mother nature to take a well deserved rest after working (and playing) hard in the garden during the other seasons.

And by being 'forced' to rest, you get the chance to take it slowly and re-charge your batteries, as well as reflect on the growing season that's just gone past and plan ahead for the coming spring.

Saying that, it's not exactly total rest for us, we do work full time after all, it's just we'll have less gardening to do in our spare time. A perfect opportunity to just enjoy relaxing and being cosy inside, and catch up with friends and other hobbies, or so it seems.....

We're both hyper and always raring to do things outdoors so it's not always easy being forced not to do much outside. We have a mutual dedication to the garden which is why we are driven to keep doing as much as we can, gaining satisfaction on the process and end result.

Daft as it may be, there are fleeting moments in the summer when I long for the comforts of winter wherein you're forced to rest and just take it easy, usually at times when I've reached a point of exhaustion after a long day at work and still do some manual labour in the garden. But I just quickly remind myself of the cold and darkness of winter and I banish such thoughts, and as soon as I'm well rested I even regret having such silly thoughts! 

We do most of the hard lanscaping of the garden ourselves, both to minimise costs as well finding the satisfaction of building things ourselves, only calling in the professional if we really have to, as required by law or if the task is way beyond our capabilities.

But it's not all about slacking off in the colder months. Having more time to rest, I find my creative juices renewed and take the time to plan ahead for the coming year, writing down ideas and making sketches for the projects we're about to do. It's also the perfect time to do most of the research on the technical aspects of things, as well as sourcing and buying materials for our projects. Something which we did last weekend, we may not be able to do much outside but in a way accomplished something by buying insulation for our future Koi house.

And if you do get the itch to play with plants and do some gardening, there are the plants being overwintered inside and you can do some indoor gardening which we we also did last weekend as we've just bought some palm seedlings and we had to repot them all individually, sent bare rooted from Spain.

And winter is a good time to go on holiday too! If you find yourself not wanting to leave the garden behind in the summer months (and why should you when the garden is looking at its prettiest!), escape the cold for a few days by going somewhere warm in the winter! Oh, and there are the winter garden and Koi shows....

So saying all of that, do I really get to rest during the winter? Not really, I just find myself doing a bit less physically. But for someone who finds satisfaction in pottering, doing something is a form of rest :)


  1. What an excellent, post. You are an inspiration. I only wish my Mark enjoyed gardening as much as I do! He encourages me to keep the tropicals, I would like to do more but what I want would cost a bit too much, so I shall drool over yours instead lol!!!

  2. Excellent post! We rarely have snow, and there's always something to do here. My winter garden chores are piling up while I take time off for Christmas. Mainly I need to transplant some dormant shrubs, and I still haven't planted my new persimmon tree. Nevertheless, it is nice to have a few frozen days when the garden is sleeping, and so am I!

  3. I agree with Libby, a very inspirational post. Like you, I hate to sit still. Planning ahead for next year is a great way to work off some of that restless energy--and planning on paper is cheaper than buying actual plants or materials :-).

  4. Although our winters are not as harsh as yours, I still spend a lot of time inside. I did a bit of sewing last Winter but I have several art projects I am thinking about. However, the truth is, gardening is my real passion, my joy, my relaxation, my sanity....etc.

  5. I really enjoyed your post and your true as can be words. They always say, gardening is so relaxing, but it is also a lot of hard work. It is when winter comes that the time to reflect and plan hits you simultaneously. That does not happen much with anything else. Good read. Have a great holiday season!

  6. All true - but I have so much to do inside garden wise that I am panicing spring will come to early. I have RHS exams in Feburary, an allotment to plan from a blank piece of paper, projects in the garden to plan and organise and seeds to order - eek. Maybe I should spend less time reading blogs

  7. Thank you for the lovely comments everyone :) Much appreciated and they are a joy to read.

    Libby, good to know that Mark encourages you to keep the tropicals, and keep up the good work you've done so far in your garden.

    Debs, just take it easy and enjoy the holidays. Once the short festive season is past you'll find it easy to go through your garden chores in no time at all.

    Gerhard, planning on paper and buying plants are both exciting!

    Hazel, same here, garden is our main hobby, everything else pales in comparison.

    Donna (and everyone!), have a great holiday season too :)

    Helen, goodluck on your exams this coming Feb, cross fingers but I'm sure you'll do well. But one must always spend some time reading blogs, it's fun and so much to learn :)

  8. Like others, ours is very mild winter so no snow. But it is also most busy season for gardening as we sow most of our plants in winter.

  9. Enjoyed your post as usual Mark. Your comment about fleetingly wishing for Winter at the height of Summer rung a chord with me. Not surprised that your blog is at the top of blotanical list. Thanks for subscribing to my posts, I am not very good at adding those widget thingys,let me know if it didn't work. Have a great Christmas.

  10. Excellent post. Here never rest from gardening...around the year is sunny. Maybe can rest on rainy day ;-). I like to read your post, very interesting to have an experience gardening in the winter. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ;-)

  11. I wish we had some of your snow! I should be cautious saying that; I remember well the winters when I swept the snow from my potted palm trees several times a day and every night too. My main garden job now is cleaning it from twigs and cones. Winds and squirrels do their job well. Also, just staring at the garden and planning... You have a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year! Stay warm!!!!

  12. Thank you Muhammad, Alistair, Orchid, and Tatyana!

    Feel free to have some of our snow Tatyana :)

  13. Here we dont get much snow, but the rain and cold might stop us from doing much outside.
    I know what you mean, even in my little balcony garden there is always a lot of work to be done. But it is also very relaxing. Actually I started doing the garden as my escape from school work.


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