Late winter is a slow time in the garden. The trees and shrubs are dormant, nothing is actively growing, there are no insects attacking our plants, and no lawn to mow. We may have sown some seeds, but they require only a little daily attention while we wait for the warm weather to return.
During the winter, our work is on pause, and our minds have time to think and plan for the next growing season. If we're really smart, organized gardeners, we take that pause and review the records we kept during the previous gardening season. We evaluate the things we planted, how they performed, and how much work they were to maintain. We determine what was worth the work and expense we put into it, and what was a waste of resources.
We make the decisions about what plants to grow more of, what plants need to be moved to a better location or removed entirely, and which plants were so rewarding that we want to grow more of them. We evaluate which projects are worthy of going on the To-Do list this year, and which ones can wait.
Winter is the season during which we also evaluate our trees and shrubs and prune them. We know that when we prune, we will see a temporary halt to growth, and we may even be sacrificing a season's blooms or fruit. But if we do it right, in the long term we are left with a stronger, more attractive and more productive plant. The decisions we make on pruning day will affect how our garden looks and performs for months and even years to come.
Winter is also the season during which we finally find the time to read those back issues of gardening magazines, read that ebook or watch those YouTube tutorials we've been meaning to get to. We have the gift of time to work on ourselves as gardeners, instead of in the garden.
Many small businesses today have been abruptly plunged into winter. The sky may be overcast, and the wind may be howling outside, but we know that sooner or later, spring must come. Will we take the time to learn from last summer's triumphs and failures, trim away the dead wood, and be ready when it's time to plant?