The Dormant Season

Editors Note: Every Tuesday--more or less--we post a new Garden Question of the Week and invite you to respond. After a couple of weeks, we gather the best responses and put them here, in our regular Tuesday garden feature article. Wanna play?


This week's featured responses are to:

The Dormant Season

. . . in which we asked how you pass the winter months, and whether you appreciate the break from outdoor chores. Here's our pick of the crop:


I do all the things that I can't get myself into the house to do in the good months, like cleaning closets, painting, laying ceramic tile. I don't raise houseplants -- if I'm not happy inside why would houseplants be happy there? I do, however, after the first of the year, start going over plant catalogs and daydreaming. I already have so many ideas, I'll never get them all done in the spring, summer, and fall months. Actually, I've been ready for spring since late October.


This year I decided to start an herb garden indoors. I started with three different herbs and I've been adding on. Not only has this somewhat settled my craving for gardening, but I'm also finding a lot of new and exciting recipes to use my fresh herbs in.

Chad in Minneapolis

This winter has been especially hard since my little garden helper, Petunia, pa ssed away unexpectedly. She was my just over 2-year-old chihuahua who would help out by planting her toys in my bulb holes and hide in my hostas like a lion in a cave. I miss her dearly and can't wait for spring to wash away some of this winter gloom. To keep busy I've been forcing bulbs like a madman and have already got a healthy start on my seedlings. I also like to take this time to work as much indoors as possible, because come spring, I'll be outside.


In San Diego you have to look hard to see the seasonal changes. Roses get attention, and some spraying is done, but in my specialized gardening business the least dormant thing is me. I do envy areas of the U.S. with true seasonal changes. God bless bare-root trees and roses. They are our cue of the dormant season.

Chrissy Q. Hilton NY

I run to the mailbox after work every day to see which garden catalogs are in there. I can't wait to see what new plants are in there and picture in my mind how it will look in my yard. I also check online with different garden sites and companies to look at all the beautiful flowers. It is how I get through the blah of winter in New York!!!!!!!! Spring can't come soon enough!!!!!


After our amaryllis stopped blooming, our orchids commenced to bloom; this brightens our winter days. I start 'Patio' tomatoes very early so when we put them out in May, we are the first gardeners to have tomatoes. Reading seed catalogs stirs us to think of spring.

Mary Ann

I look out the windows at all my flower beds, trying to remember how they looked last spring and summe r. I'm making plans for changes and I try to visualize improvements in my mind. I have spent the last two weekends cleaning all my garden tools and painting all my concrete yard items. I really get excited just thinking about spring and plant time again.


I'm rooting ivy with the plan to grow topiary house numbers for the front garden area. It should be easy -- my house number is 61. Also, planning my spring/summer garden for our one-year-old home. Last year was limited to initial landscaping and putting in a patio off the deck. We are so anxious to get out there and have fun with dirt!!! I have a picture of my wonderful little garden from the old house on a bulletin board to remind me what will be.

Jill from Michigan

Although Michigan winters can seem very long (and this year quite snowy), I find myself not wasting time waiting for spring to come. Better Homes and Gardens garden plans have given me great ideas for a walkway garden installation for next spring. I also plan on adding to the shade garden in the back yard. Country Gardener magazine has provided lots of new ideas. My yellow daffodils are usually my first sign of spring in my yard; they cannot come soon enough!


What dormant season? With tending my over 100 houseplants (and bonsai), I have no dormant season. I finally put the outdoor garden to bed in early to mid-December, celebrate the holidays, and as soon as the new year comes, I place seed orders, draw garden diagrams, etc. By February I'm already out pruning and starting seeds. Did someone say 'dormant'?