“What does the staff do at Green Spring Gardens in the winter time? Do you take the season off?” We hear those questions regularly, and our first thought is…
There’s too much to do. Learning, planning the next gardening cycle, and designing. And if you want improvements in your garden and landscape, you can come learn side-by-side with Green Spring staff through the winter.
In winter, we learn. As gardens take their long winter’s nap, gardeners have time to teach and learn from others. We pour over books and periodicals and attend lectures by horticultural experts. Green Spring Gardens invites gardening experts to share information during our Harry Allen Winter Lecture Series. This series, sponsored by the Friends of Green Spring, provides affordable, valuable lectures for the staff and for gardeners like you. Check the schedule online and come learn along with us.
In winter, we plan. Oh, do we plan! We look at our garden successes and failures and determine what plants we will grow the next year. We pour over seed catalogs and deliberate our choices. Emails go round about who wants to share a seed lot of Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ and who had success growing the new cultivar of Gomphrena ‘Fireworks.’ I am, for some inexplicable reason, drawn to the color red for the 2015 Children’s Discovery Garden, so I have a plan for plant combinations like red Pentas and ‘Black Pearl’ ornamental pepper. Love it!
The summer garden starts in winter. Select the seeds to order, then pot, nurture and divide. Seedlings and cuttings take a lot of care, but the plant selections and cost savings are great. You can do this with us. Join us for a class and hear Green Spring staff and other gardening experts share their knowledge.
In winter, we design. Some design projects produce small changes, and some are large projects like the gazebo renovation. The final stages of that renovation should occur in early 2015, so new planting designs have been drawn up for the gardens surrounding the structure. The gardens graduate from shade to sun, so the plants for those areas vary greatly, and bringing the area together visually is a challenge.
Gardens require planning, and winter is the perfect time for you to reflect on your own garden spaces. What did you like or not like? Some plants, no doubt, worked better than others in your garden. Figure out why and you will have a better understanding of what to plant in 2015. Use your camera for a quick and easy visual record of successes and failures. The knowledge you gain will translate into a beautiful, well-thought-out garden space for you.
So, back to the question of “what do you do in the winter?” As gardeners, we learn, we plan, we design – and we dream of warmer days.
Author Susan Eggerton is the program coordinator at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, Virginia. 703-642-5173.