Top 10 Things To Do In Your Insanely Cold Winter Garden

Shawna Coronado shoveling snow on her front sidewalk.

It’s winter. It’s Cold. It’s Dark. It’s Wet. With a little bit more of the cold, dark, and wet repeated liberally for five months. As a year end tribute to gardening, I give you some ideas on how you can spend your winter in the garden:

  1. Shovel snow (see illustration above). Oh wait. Repeat. Every week for 5 months until your nose is rosy and your hind-in is freezing instead of flying to Cancun like you should be doing.
  2. Dig a trench for spring bush planting. Oh wait. The ground is frozen. Drink leftover eggnog instead.
  3. Repair fencing and arbors. Oh wait. Frostbite is a concern. Go online shopping for wellies instead – reward yourself with new boots for THINKING of working in the garden.
  4. Move your rock borders around for better placement. Oh wait. The rocks are frozen to the ground like the little boy’s tongue froze to the metal post in The Christmas Story. Consume a huge batch of brownies instead. Comfort food is better than work.
  5. Clear out the eaves of leaf clutter. Oh wait. Climbing a ladder is out during blizzards. No worries – fix yourself a margarita and gaze longingly at the spot where you dream of placing the greenhouse you cannot afford instead.
  6. Stand in middle of the garden and enjoy the view. Oh wait. There is no view except a foot of white blanket covering the entire thing. Instead, make a point of staring at the blue sky through nude tree limbs with hot chocolate in hand. Ooooooh pretty color.
  7. Turn your compost pile. Oh wait. It’s frozen in a solid block of ice. Stare at the composter and actually consider pouring vodka (which never freezes) on to the compost pile so you can do SOMETHING, ANYTHING in the garden.
  8. Put your bathing suit and wellies on, then run semi-nude through your garden much like the ice-swimmers do annually in Lake Michigan. Oh wait. You are not stupid. Pour yourself a Jack Daniels and Diet Coke and sit in front of the fireplace instead.
  9. Bundle yourself up in the warmest coat you have and go out to the garden to sing happy songs to the little freezing winter birds who need your emotional support. Oh wait. Are you insane? Read a garden book instead or perhaps go buy bird food.
  10. Trim dead limbs from the trees. Oh wait. EVERY limb looks dead. Instead of chopping down all your trees, you should just say to heck with it for the next three months and put your flannel jammies and slippers on. Be sure to mix any remaining eggnog, hot chocolate, margarita, brownies, vodka, and Jack Daniels together – blend well in the blender. Pour yourself a glass, then sit down to write a blog about gardening.

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  • Reply
    P. Annie Kirk
    December 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Rinse glass and repeat.

  • Reply
    December 30, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I like the way you think!

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    December 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm


  • Reply
    Bonnie Story
    December 30, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Great!! I seriously had nearly all of these thoughts recently. When I lived down in CA I really didn't “get it” about things being FROZEN, well now I know. Up here north of Seattle, yes things do freeze, so why not just wander around outside until my ears hurt and have a highball?

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    December 30, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Bonnie – I love you! Great idea!


  • Reply
    Maria Christina
    December 30, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Perfect! Seriously 🙂

  • Reply
    Rich Pomerantz
    December 30, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    You left out “Look out the window of the former cigar maker's shanty now converted in to a lovely key west hideaway you are renting at the tropical plants you were so clever to notice. Sip your Bacardi and coke as a congratulatory gift.”

  • Reply
    Pat "Yasu" Huther
    December 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    too funny, I want to laugh but then I realize it's all true and winter will probably go on at least 3-4 more months here in the NE … aaaargghhhhh it's almost 5 I think I'll have that drink too

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    December 30, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Rich – I'm sticking my tongue out at you.

    And Pat – Can you hear my silent screams? AAAAGHHHH!!!


  • Reply
    David P. Offutt - The Gastronomic Gardener
    December 31, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Thanks for the laugh Shawna!

  • Reply
    December 31, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Love it… but you forgot BOOK A FLIGHT to Miami to spend the day in a tropical garden! 🙂

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    December 31, 2010 at 2:38 am

    We definitely need to book a flight to Miami. Or atleast Orlando to see the gardens at Disney.


  • Reply
    January 4, 2011 at 12:50 am

    I can only surmise that you have been spying on me in my frozen wasteland of a garden, footie pyjamas and all. Sherry

  • Reply
    January 4, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    It's only January 4th and I'm dreaming that I will wake up tomorrow morning and it will be March! Anyone who lives in a cold winter climate can completely relate to your top 10 list. I love it!!!

  • Reply
    Shawna Lee Coronado
    January 4, 2011 at 11:49 pm


    Thanks Ramona and Sherry!


  • Reply
    January 6, 2011 at 4:21 am

    This week has been great for dormant pruning! Usually there are a few good days in Feb for this task as well.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    but you can keep poking through the snow and be amazed that some of the ground cover appears to still be growing…it keeps me in the faith of spring. Nice to know we're all getting a little stir crazy.

  • Reply
    Carol Cichorski
    January 9, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Here's a challenge – get your camera out and find something beautiful in that cold dreary cold snowy cold winter garden. Bet you can do it. Maybe even from inside! The camera helps me focus(pun intended)on winter beauty, and I am somehow even enjoying my cold dreary cold snowy cold winter garden.

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