Winter in the Garden. Wait, What?

As any experienced gardener knows, while saying good-bye to your garden for the winter can be a near-heartbreaking experience, there is a great deal of consolation to be had from the many plants that can and will thrive in your house through the winter and reemerge as early beauties in your spring garden. This geranium, for example, along with several others of its ilk, definitely beautified the Thanksgiving Day scene in my house.

Blythe Hurley

It clearly provided entertainment for the cat as well.

Blythe Hurley's cat

I have had hostas, ferns, begonias, various succulents, the previously mentioned geraniums, and many other kinds of plants survive through the winter on my unheated back porch. If it gets really, really cold (below 10º), I’ll turn on a little space heater for them, but for the most part they are ignored and seem to actually benefit from the neglect. Watering once a month seems to be sufficient, since they actually appear to enter into some kind of dormant state, growing very little until the temperatures rise again.

I think this is worth trying with any potted plant you have that can easily be transported into your house. Sure, some of them will die on you, but it’s worth it in my opinion in order to have flowers in March before the crocuses pop up, when we all long for a spot of color that isn’t contaminated by winter’s unearthed garbage and the ubiquitous dog crap of spring.

The only serious problem I have encountered with this is that many bugs, slugs, and other creepy crawlies will make there way in with the plants. For myself, in a house with two young girls and two jumpy cats, this is just an excuse for adventure that one should embrace rather than squealing about. I encourage you all to see it in the same light!

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