Life made simple

My garden hibernates - can I?

 

How does your garden look now, at the peak of hibernation season, we ask. “A bit meh,” says just about every garden owner we know. “Why must we have winter?” they ask. “Why can’t it be summer all year round?” The short answer: because that would be boring. And besides, when would we get to use all our nice coats and quilts?

The longer answer, for gardeners, is that while it doesn’t look like there’s anything happening in your garden, there is. Your garden is a clever, living thing that has a secret life in winter.

It may look ‘dead’ but under the ground, your spring bulbs – those ones we suggested you plant two months back – are getting ready to unfurl, and the seeds you sowed in autumn are germinating.

They’re plotting a takeover in September. It’s going to be fabulous.

So be patient, and be grateful for your winter garden. It’s just getting on with things in its own quiet way, so trust the process. You’ll soon see.

Your garden is hibernating. (FYI: It’s from the Latin word ‘hiber’ – meaning winter.)

I want to hibernate
all winter, too.

And while gardens hibernate, so do creatures. It’s weird and wonderful, this hibernation thing. It’s nature’s way of helping many animals in colder climates conserve energy. By hibernating, they slow their metabolism and their body temperature drops – sometimes for months. This helps them to survive long periods when food is scarce.

We all know hibernation is a bear thing, but it’s also done by chipmunks, hedgehogs, snakes and bees. Where do they go? Well, we think some of them might be sleeping in your garden. (Not the bears.)

“I want to hibernate all winter, too,” you cry. The short answer: You can’t. You’re a human, and you have stuff to do. The closest you’ll get to hibernation is spending the weekend in bed with your phone switched off. But do it anyway.

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