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  • Writer's pictureJulia Watson

The Gardener at Rest

Make a cup of tea and relax - those early daffodils don't need your help!

If you’re not resting in January, maybe you should be. Personally, I get restless about this time each year – I’m itching to be out in the garden, tidying up the messes of dead branches and fallen leaves. But that’s a mistake, because we could have a cold snap, with frosty nights, and it’s better to let plants have the cover of old leaves and dead branches. So I try to plan and read instead, and generally ignore the garden (except for pruning roses (more about that soon).

For the casual home gardener, planning is simple and won’t take much of your time. I’m not really the planning type, but after many (many!) years of that, I’ve come to realize that a little planning helps a lot, and now that Don and I grow flowers to sell, I use iCal to remind myself of planting deadlines. But if you don’t have that pressure, you can read all through January and get inspired. Here are some of my favorite gardening books.

  • The New Sunset Western Garden Book by Sunset Magazine. The best overall reference for any gardener west of the Rockies.

  • Discovering Dahlias by Erin Benzakein. If you’ve been bitten by the dahlia bug, you’ll love looking at the photos in this book.

  • The Rose Bible by Rayford Reddell. A wonderful reference book with lots of beautiful rose photos.

  • Containers in the Garden by Claus Dalby. I recently book this book and it gave me hours of happy reading and inspired new plant ideas.

  • The Complete Gardener by Monty Don. OK, I admit that I haven’t read this one yet, but I want to. Monty Don is England’s favorite gardener and he also has a TV series that’s great fun to watch.

It may be cold outside, but plants are getting ready to start a new year, so rest now while you can. Daffodils and tulips will be up soon and you'll be working outside before you know it.

Daffodil 'Pippit'

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