On a day like today when the wind is howling and the snow is blowing around, we have to try extra hard to bring back the memories of the gardening season here in Wisconsin. But a true gardener is always dreaming, of gardens past and gardens to come. While we are hunkered down inside watching the world of white outside, we can use the most modern of conveniences, YouTube, to give us some ideas for ways we can keep the garden year going all year long.
YouTube can be such a great resource for answering gardening questions and introducing us to new ideas. I, for one, turn to it quite often for information and inspiration. It is incredible easy to go down a rabbit hole, following links to related videos and getting lost for hours. I have collected some links to videos with winter gardening ideas from some of my favorite YouTube garden channels, to get you started on your own garden video adventure.
Erin gardens in Zone 5, on the shores of Lake Michigan here in Wisconsin, so she is a great resource for ideas that work in our area. Erin is a Master Gardener and magazine editor. I first came across her when I was looking for information on Dahlias (one of her favorite flowers) but she also has some great ideas for winter gardening tasks. She is often accompanied by her 2 Newfoundlands, Dorothy and Odin, as she goes about her gardening tasks.
Laura gardens in the town of Ontario, OR on the border with Idaho and has one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen! Since she started posting videos in 2014, she has covered all sorts of projects she and her husband Aaron have done to transform their property into a beautiful landscape. Her parents own a seed company and nursery so she has been brought up in gardening her whole life, and it shows. She has a beautiful eye for design and has does quite a few reviews of new plants and products. Since gardening and animals go hand in hand, watch for guest appearances from Laura's cats, Russel and Cheddar.
I first discovered Mike when I was looking for advice on taking cuttings of shrubs for propagation and he had some great advice that worked really well for me. Mike is from Perry, Ohio in Zone 6 on the shore of Lake Erie. This area is known for the number of commercial nurseries and that was how Mike got his start. He provides some great practical advice on plant propagation and as the below video shows, winter is a great time to do this. Not to be outdone on the animal front, the videos often feature Mike's 2 donkeys, Finnegan and Fergus.
When it comes to winter, I am usually very firmly in the hibernator category. Once the temperature falls below freezing and the first snow flakes start to fly, I hunker down indoors with a warm fire, a big pile of books and garden catalogs, and start wishing for spring. I gaze longingly out the windows at my garden, first as it dies, and dries, and browns, and then as it gets covered in a blanket of white. The pristine blanket of white is disturbed by no human feet, but only by the tracks of the dogs and cat, who seem to enjoy the cold much more than their owner.
On New Year’s Day, I had a very unusual feeling, an urge to get out into the crisp winter air and find some winter beauty. Since my own garden is very young, the shrubs I have nurtured from cuttings are just barely sticking out of the snow, I had to venture further afield to find some well established winter beauty. Earlier this year our club did a community project cleaning up the Rose Garden of the Scheig Center Garden in Memorial Park so I decided to go visit in a very different season from the blooming bounty we found in the summer.
I started my walk in the place where we left off. The Rose Garden statue had acquired some appropriate winter garb for the season.
In my search for winter interest, the obvious place to start is with the evergreens, stalwarts of the winter garden. The wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors create variety when grouped together as the center piece of a bed. In the garden they are found as the hedge around the Rose Garden, as a backdrop for raised beds and seating, and as a complement to a grouping of perennials left in their natural state to provide interesting shapes and colors.
In a world of browns, blacks, and a blanket of white, the berries and seeds on the shrubs and trees provide a bright spot of orange and red. The hips left on the low growing roses give another splash of red.
Perennials that have been left after their summer glory provide a touch of gold.
Grasses in their many forms can create a focal point covered in snow, wispy fans on long stems or as a large majestic group with feathers on the tops.
Just as my toes were getting cold and a warm cup of coffee and a seat in front of the fire were sounding really good, I came across a little surprise, a little promise of what was to come, a reason to hold out hope that spring will come again!!