What do you do in the winter?


It’s deep winter.  It’s the cold, dark time of winter. It’s the long stretch of winter when the festivities of the Holidays are well behind us and the thaw of spring is well ahead of us. It’s the time of year when the concept of gardening becomes very theoretical.

I am more conscious of the theoretical nature of being a gardener in winter this year more than ever. I have been making the rounds of orthopedists seeking knowledge and hopefully a cure for what ails my right wrist, which is still in a splint. I have been diagnostically questioned repeatedly “What do you do?” I find this an intrusive question at the best of times, especially on Landing Cards as I wonder what my occupation has to do with my ability to enjoy a sojourn in another country, and am often tempted toward creative answers such as “Nuclear physicist” or “Professional Belly dancer”.  However, given that  “what I do” is pertinent to my injury I robotically reply “Gardener” to each inquiry. My confession immediately prompts the follow up question, “What do you do in the winter?”

Ah yes, what does a gardener do in the winter?  A common conundrum of contemporary culture similar to other unknowns such as “What does a stay at home mom do when the kids are at school?”  and “ What does a writer do when she is not writing?” or “Does the President still govern when s/he is on vacation?” although I have never heard anyone  dare ask a mom or a writer or the President these questions.


What do I the gardener do in the winter? I contemplate. I spend long stretches looking out the windows imagining what there is in the garden, and what could be there in the garden. I plan what changes I will make or might make in the spring. I read – garden history, garden design, gardener biography, seed catalogues, plant catalogues, bulb catalogues, garden blogs. I take photographs  to capture the beauty of a garden under snow. And now that I have created this blog, I intend to revisit gardens I have been to and share stories and photographs of them with you.

What does a gardener do in winter? As each garden is as individual as each gardener, I assume each gardener’s answer will be as individual as each gardener. Tell me, as a gardener, what do you do in the winter?