Okay, here we go. Out with 2016 and in with a whole new gardening season and hopefully a whole new attitude about life. First off, we are over the hump which loosely translated means that we have passed the shortest day of the year and things will only get better from this point on (I am talking about the garden, can’t promise anything as to the rest of your life).
January is a fairly quiet month in the garden. Depending on the weather, we might mow the lawn maybe once, rake a few more leaves that escaped us in the fall and make sure all of our containers and tender plants are adequately watered and protected from severe weather. Other than that it is time to dream and plan for the spring, which means reading seed catalogs, going to lectures, and visiting public gardens to see what magical things they have done to keep the garden from being boring.
Speaking of boring gardens, the Master Gardener Foundation is kicking off their winter garden speaker series with a lecture from yours truly on “Banishing Boring Yards Forever”. This is a fund raiser for the foundation so your ticket to attend goes to a worthy cause. Go to http://www.gardenlectures.com/2017-speaker-schedule.html for more information on this series of entertaining and educational lectures.
As for public gardens, our very own Jennings’s Park has a wonderful Master Gardener demo garden and over in north Everett is the Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens in Legion Park with its assorted themed gardens. Farther south is one of my favorites, the Bellevue Botanical Garden (known as the BBG) which has some incredible display gardens which are well worth the drive south. And don’t forget the WPA (that’s not the Works Progress Administration). I am referring to the Washington Park Arboretum which is an all-day field trip that has a winter garden that will give you all sorts of good ideas on how to add interest to your garden. The other spot I like to check out periodically is the Chittenden Locks in Ballard which has some pretty unusual plantings. Granted, they have a very mild micro-climate so some of the specimens there will not survive in Snohomish County but it is still fun to see different stuff.
While January may be a quiet time in our gardens it is important to mention that our local garden centers are already very busy gearing up for the spring season. Fruit trees, berries, grapes, and roses arrive this month and believe it or not we can actually plant them this time of year. Also, you might be surprised at the selection of early blooming perennials and shrubs that are available in garden centers in the dead of winter. I have said this many times, “If you want year ‘round interest in your garden you need to shop year ‘round and discover what is blooming in the other seasons of the year”.
Finally, garden centers are starting up their gardening classes for 2017. From Skagit County down to King County there is no shortage of opportunities to educate ourselves in this “off season” without feeling guilty about not being out in the garden actually accomplishing something. Go to their web sites and find out what is being offered for this month and get ahead of the game while you still can. In just 30 days I will bury you with garden chores that will keep you busy from dawn to dusk.