By Rachel Anderson, Certified Professional Horticulturalist
Most people try pretty hard to not go outside in the winter around here. I can’t blame them too much; after all, it’s usually wet, cold, dark, blustery, or any combination of said winter weather (sometimes it’s all at the same time and then some!) However, I’ve really come to appreciate our winters in the Pacific Northwest, and here’s why:
- The sunrises and sunsets are often stunning!
- Witchhazel, Sarcococca, Viburnum ‘Dawn’, and February Daphne are all coming into bloom, and if you’ve resigned yourself to staying indoors, then you’d never notice their alluring fragrance and eye catching flash of color. Not to mention Mahonia ‘Charity’, which has been going for some time now and of which every hummingbird for miles around knows about and visits with some regularity.
- Sometimes, and especially in the evenings in the Valley, the sky is completely filled with snow geese! This is no exaggeration! It is so truly awesome to be outside when they are flying overhead constantly honking and chattering. Then there are the graceful and majestic Trumpeter Swans. Their flocks are much smaller, usually just an intimate family group, but no less impressive. They fly so low that the whistle of the wind in their wings can be heard! I’m always so glad that I am outside, no matter the weather, when they are passing by.
- Then there’s the satisfaction of finally coming indoors after a cold while outside. There’s the feeling of tingling warmth returning to fingertips and cheeks after spending time tidying up in the garden. It’s a good feeling!
Looking to spend more time out in the chilly air in your garden in January?
- Trim the leaves away from budded and blooming Hellebores to better show off their flowers.
- Cut back the last of your herbaceous perennials. Usually by now the birds have gotten what they need from any remaining seed heads.
- It’s still okay to plant new trees and shrubs, and they tend to overwinter better if they’re in the ground rather than in pots.
- We’ve begun to get in our new selection of bare root fruit trees, ornamental trees, shrubs (including lilacs and hydrangeas!) and berries. Plus, our new roses are arriving and are being potted up as you read this! So, plan to make a trip to the nursery soon so that you can have first dibs!
- It’s pruning season for all kinds of trees and shrubs, including fruit trees. If you’re unsure of how to go about pruning, definitely check out our pruning classes coming up!
- If you really don’t feel like going outside and you feel that you need a little inspiration and a shot of spring, come on by the Nursery and buy tickets to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, taking place February 5-9. They’re available now, and there’s no better way to get you finger on the pulse of what’s new and exciting in the gardening world, shop for new gardening everything, and get ideas and inspiration.
It’s January! It’s exciting! It’s a whole new year! Get outside and enjoy what winter has to offer (and there’s a lot out there if you’re willing to throw on a coat and some long underwear!). I can’t wait to see what the New Year holds!
About the author:
Rachel has been gardening since childhood, thanks to her mom, and has been part of the team at Christianson’s since 2002. She’s a Certified Professional Horticulturist with a passion for roses and vegetable gardening. Rachel and her family enjoy gardening together and now share their urban garden with a menagerie of ducks, chickens, two cats, and a dog.
This article was first published in the January 2014 issue of Garden Notes, our monthly online newsletter. You can sign up for Garden Notes on the Newsletter page of our website or sign up in person the next time you’re in the Garden Store at the Nursery.