How do you beat the January blahs? Relaxing on a warm, sandy beach with palm trees is one way some of us make it through Canadian winters. Gardeners escape in other ways!

Seed catalogues become readily available. Gardeners enjoy pouring through new catalogues to learn about the latest seeds. Ordering new seeds as they make plans for summer gardening is a favourite gardener’s winter pastime.

Winter is also a good time to give extra care to indoor houseplants. Clean them with a damp cloth. Dust on the foliage can clog the leaf pores. Treat them to a quick shower in your bathtub. Always use room temperature water. Houseplants benefit from regular fertilizing of half strength. Provide sufficient humidity by setting plants on a tray filled with moistened pebbles or by simply setting a cup of water nearby.

Some of us grow or receive amaryllis plants over Christmas and early January. When these plants are done blooming, remove the spent flowers. Set the plant in a bright sunny window to allow the leaves to fully develop. Keep the soil evenly moist and fertilize occasionally.

When the weather turns icy, choose sand, bird seed, sawdust or vermiculite to place on icy paths. Avoid salt or ice melters which may injure plants.

Winter is a time to get our garden tools ready for spring. Sharpen and oil tools such as shovels, shears, and mowers. Power tools such as weed eaters and power mowers may benefit from a good tune-up. Now is a good time to give your tools attention.

If you have a wood stove, save your fireplace ashes. They can be used in spring as an excellent fertilizer for your irises, roses, and lilacs. Excess ashes may also be sprinkled on your lawn at any time for a lush, green lawn.

Winter is also a good time to come out to a monthly program night of the Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS). Meetings are free and open to everyone. You will find us to be a friendly group of novice and experienced gardeners. We gather at the Dunnville Optimist Hall every third Thursday of the month 7-9 p.m. Our monthly programs include a motivating speaker, updates on what DHS is up to in Dunnville, repurposed door “prizes” and refreshments. Membership is available at $10/person or $15 couple. Check our website for a complete list of “Membership Benefits”.

On the agenda for Feb. 16 is “Heirloom Seeds, Open Pollination & Veggie Boxes” with Hanna Jacobs, Matchbox Garden & Seed Company, Caledonia. Matchbox Garden & Seed Co. is a small farm and seed company started as an urban backyard garden in downtown Toronto. Matchbox now produces over 120 varieties of open pollinated, heirloom and rare vegetables, herbs, flowers, seed and seedlings. You won’t want to miss this and maybe even pick up a few new seeds.

Without a doubt, every gardener is eager for spring to arrive. Winter is our season of waiting. It is a necessary time in the circle of life before we plant and harvest. Winter is a time to rest, reflect and plan for our next gardening chapter.

For more information, call Debbie Thomas, President (905) 774-3064.

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