I know! The newspaper has a picture of a bee on a flower, and there is snow on the ground! What are they thinking? Well, believe it or not, winter is the perfect time of year to think about gardening. That’s right. Grab your hot chocolate, and a quilt, and start planning your dream garden. First, you need to decide what type of planting that you are doing this year. What kind of garden are you thinking about? Are you savouring beautiful, beefsteak tomatoes? Do you love to watch birds and butterflies in your yard? Are you concerned about the sustainability of the bees?
Maybe your garden is more landscape oriented. Have you considered a water garden? Does pond fish and frogs appeal to you? Are you thinking about layers of wildflowers – graduating in height, or a variety of perennials creating a garden path? Have you ever considered container gardening or raised beds? Will your strawberries and cucumbers hang from pots? Do you need to build a trellis for those climbing vines? Successful gardens usually require some forethought. Soil, space, drainage, access to water, shade, sun…there is so much to consider. Are you starting from seeds or buying from a nursery? How often will you need to transplant? When do you put your plants in the ground to make that perfect salad? How do you keep ahead of those dreaded potato bugs?
At the public library, our collection on gardening, landscaping, building decks, and handmade garden furniture start to circulate long before the snow leaves the ground. Flowers and vegetable gardens, planting by the phases of the moon, medicinal plants, permaculture, aquaponics, labyrinths, rock and Zen gardens, succulents; there are lots of topics to explore. For those of you that like both fiction and non-fiction reads, there are even garden mystery books. Print materials are not the only resource available at the library either. There are many Do-It-Yourself videos available on our computers, too. Unfortunately, garden magazines are hard to keep in stock, so check in with staff early to see if you can place a reserve.
Another friend of the library is the Bancroft Horticultural Society. You can find them on Facebook and they have a wide variety of interests for anyone with a green thumb. Each year, this group hosts fund-raising plant sales, where you can get a variety of garden and household plants to start or enrich your collection. They are often looking for more volunteers to assist with maintaining community gardens. Every fall, they gather for their show and tell event, allowing others to see their biggest and best growers. Check library bulletin boards for event postings. Often, we see many of the Horticultural members, checking out resources on their favourite subjects. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the seed library. Some libraries in North Hastings also hold a selection of seeds for their community. This unique library collection allows patrons to take seeds for planting. Who knew libraries could be “sow” much fun?
Submitted by Paige Turner