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Why it's fun to garden in winter

Garden news goes kind of flat in winter and garden addicts like me can't find a decent garden makeover show (my best type of makeover) - why? Because it's winter! Many customers are wary about starting a garden in autumn or winter but really, it's a good time to do it - unless the ground is frozen. But it's cheaper to plant trees and many bareroot roses (and other plants, like hardy geraniums) in autumn or winter, because they are supplied without a pot, making postage cheaper, and creating less plastic waste! Planting in autumn or winter also gives plants time to settle in calmly and establish roots, before the heat of summer switches plants to frantic grow-mode. Plants with more established root systems need much less watering than their newbie companions, meaning they're pretty much independent and self-catering!

The other fun thing about winter gardening is spotting intrepid blooms blooming, like the first pink hellebore that opened in my garden today (until now only white ones have bloomed), and primulas and violas are also brave wintry souls. My double violet primula opened today, which was super-exciting, because I've read that they are super-fussy and selective about living, or not.

In winter, without the drunken profusion of flowering perennials, swamped evergreens like dwarf cypresses can finally take centre stage and be seen in their gorgeous green, yellow or lime glory. I bought a live Christmas tree this year, with the secret agenda of having another cypress in my garden. Otherwise, I would have been busted by the plant police. I couldn't wait for Christmas to be over, so that I could take the baubles off, take it outside and pot it on to a bigger container (bless, its roots were growing out of the holes in the pot :( ). I don't actually have room for it in my garden but in a pot, I can move it around wherever I like.

I love winter a lot, mainly because there's so much less stress than in summer when I'm lugging an impossibly heavy watering can around the garden. I can just sit back and admire the bare space that doesn't exist in summer, when you need a machete to make it down the path to the wheelie bins. Gardening is tough when you're a plant addict like me, but winter is the time when you don't have to do much, and it's finally fun!

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