It’s a new year and a new start to the gardening season. As a landscape architect working in the landscape industry, I have been asked countless times “what do you do all winter?” Believe me, there is lots to do but maybe a better question is what you can do this winter, in order to have a better garden this coming year?
Seek inspiration! It’s all around you. There are regular columns in the paper from respected garden authorities such as Mark Cullen and Sonia Day. There are also countless gardening blogs. One I am currently enjoying is Toronto Gardens, written by Helen and Sarah Battersby. Reading their observations and recommendations can introduce me to something new or keep me informed on what’s happening in the gardening community in the Greater Toronto Area.
Join a Horticultural Society or Gardening Club! There are so many groups out there that are looking for new likeminded members. The range in gardens and knowledge is diverse in these groups but everyone is there because they love to garden! One of the best groups to join is the Toronto Botanical Gardens. They offer an extensive array of courses and lectures that can help you through the winter and their posting on what’s in bloom in the gardens will help you to fill in the gaps in your own garden once you can get back outside to work.
Travel! Okay not all of us can do this every year, but maybe someday and they say anticipation is half the fun. So if your trip is not imminent, you can always start to plan it now. There are travel groups that specialize in trips to famous gardens throughout the world. If group travel is not for you then start planning your own itinerary. I am fortunate enough to be planning a trip to England this spring; which is a gardener’s paradise. Going to see the garden at Sissinghurst is definitely on my list and I was fortunate to hear the recently retired head gardener from Sissinghurst speak at the Toronto Botanical Gardens on her work there. This has given me great insight into how this garden has evolved over time. The next lecture I am attending at the Toronto Botanical Gardens is in February by John Brookes who is a well-known British Landscape Architect. Who knows what gardens I will need to visit after hearing him speak?
Although none of these suggestions will actually get your hands dirty they will help you to keep learning and enjoying the art of gardening until the first snowdrop blooms this spring.
By Sue Montgomery, OALA, CSLA