old man winter

Nature Lovers: How to Chase away Old Man Winter

Are you chomping so hard at the bit for spring to arrive that you broke a tooth?  Have you launched an anti-groundhog campaign since Punxsutawney Phil (Pennsylvania’s famous groundhog) informed you that we still have several weeks to go before spring will arrive?  Have you planted artificial flowers in your yard for the lack of colorful, living flowers – and even worse, convinced yourself they are real?

Well my friend, if you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you may be suffering from a bad case of winter blues!

Depending on where you live, winter can be cold, damp, dreary, chilly and downright frigid.  If you’re in the North, there’s a good chance you won’t even see the actual ground until all the “white stuff” melts away.   You’re tired of wearing heavy sweaters, coats and bundling up – maybe you’ve even become reclusive!

But here’s the good news:  Spring WILL arrive – I promise.  But in the meantime, here are some ideas to scare away those winter blues.   Now is the best time to get yourself ready for spring. 

Plan garden or container projects:  Start a journal on garden projects that you always wanted to do (and still haven’t done).  Include a list of needed supplies.  This is a good time to formulate your plan and then shop online or in stores to get the supplies you need so that as soon as spring really hits – YOU ARE READY!

Peruse seed and plant catalogs – even if you don’t order anything, they will give you endless ideas on new plants, shrubs or trees you may want to add to your garden or yard.

Check the schedules for local farmers market and garden shows:  Find out when your local farmer’s markets will re-open.  Check schedules to find out when plant and garden shows are coming to your area and mark them NOW on your calendar so you don’t miss them when spring arrives.

Schedule Car or Bus Trips:  It’s also a good time to schedule trips (including bus trips) to local botanical and other gardens for inspiration, or bird watching outings to breathe in that wonderful fresh air and get some exercise.

Plan an herb garden:  Start learning about herbs – how to grow them at home and use in cooking.  Most herbs can be started indoors even before spring has technically arrived.  I grow some herbs just for their scent or flowers (i.e. see post in nature category on “lovely lavender”).

Bird and Butterfly Lovers:  Now is the time to start shopping around for good deals on birdhouses and butterfly houses.  Figure out where you want to mount them so you can enjoy the spectacular view.  Shop my store for my favorite birdhouses by HB (Home Bizarre).  Grow some milkweed to help save our monarch butterflies (see “Saving our Monarch’s” post).

Nature Walks:  Start making a list for where you want to stroll on a nature walk.  When the first nice day hits, you’ll know exactly the trail you want to take.  Research new trails or parks to add to your list.

Rock Garden:  If you’ve always wanted to create a rock garden, but never got around to it, now is the perfect time to learn about rock gardens and putting together a plan.

Potting benches/areas:  Shop around for potting benches, garden benches, garden stools and designate an area in your yard to set up a new garden and sitting area.  Catalogs and online wholesalers are already unveiling all kinds of gardening tools, containers and garden décor.

Go Batty:  Hate those pesky bugs, especially mosquitoes?  Now is the time to get a bat house – one bat will literally eat thousands of bugs in one night (and unlike us, they love mosquitoes).

Dividing plants:  If you like to divide plants in the spring, make sure you have all the containers ready before spring arrives.  That includes containers for starting seed packets.

Pruning:  Start researching which of your trees or bushes may need pruning come spring and make sure your pruning gear is sharp.

The Who told us:  There Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues.  But YES, there is a cure for the wintertime blues by planning for spring right now.

Enjoy the thrill of the chill and make your spring planning fun by sipping on gourmet coffee or hot chocolate – incorporate your favorite snacks and comfort food!  Watch mindless TV or listen to music while you setup a garden/nature journal for your spring and summer plans.  Compile your lists of supplies and products you need and get them in advance.  Winter is a great time of year to bargain shop – take advantage of it.