Gardening during winter at Tower Hill in Boylston
Pretty as snow can be, the landscape enshrouded in it for months, devoid of plant life, can quickly become monotonous.
But, not to despair: There are other ways to get a little green in your life in the depths of winter.
Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, for instance, offers several educational, hands-on programs to get you interacting with plants and keep that green thumb of yours in shape in the offseason. (Not to mention that the location itself, with its views of Mount Wachusett and the reservoir, acres of gardens, indoor conservatories, and bouquet of smells and colors, is sure to perk you right up, whatever the weather has to deliver.)
"Gardens and gardening are really great for your overall well-being," said education director Ann Marie Pilch, noting among the benefits are stress relief and exercise.
Also, don't think of gardens as being solely relegated to the warmer seasons. If you plant them right, you can enjoy them all year long.
Such is the focus of a Feb. 1 workshop, "The Garden in Winter." Holliston-based garden designers Jana Milbocker and Joan Butler will emphasize plants that have "winter interest," Pilch explained, such as winterberry hollies with their bursts of red berries, evergreens with their "wide variety of texture and color," "glowing" dogwood shrubs, and other trees with unique and varying barks.
The instructors will also discuss ways to lay out and group trees, shrubs and perennials to create the most dramatic effect.
"The garden can be a magical place in winter," according to the course description.
Or, if you prefer, you can bring the outside in.
In a Feb. 8 class, "Flowering Branches," Nancy Vargas of Southborough-based Le Jardin Blanc will focus on forcing cuttings, such as from forsythia or cherry trees, to bloom indoors.
"You can enjoy them as a pop of early spring," said Pilch.
And it's never too early to start planning for next season's garden.
In "Hypertufa Planter Workshop," also on Feb. 8, for example, participants will create their own planter from cement, peat moss and perlite that they can then use as an outdoor accent. The March 29 "Healthy Lawns, and Lawn Alternatives," on the other hand, will discuss various ways to maintain a lush expanse of grass with minimal environmental impact.
Meanwhile, "Life Cycle Gardening" on March 8 will highlight subtle changes that can make your garden easier to maintain as you age. One example, Pilcher said, is to choose lower-maintenance plants. "It's all about how you can continue to garden as you grow older," she said.
Ultimately, Tower Hill, which opened in 1986 and is operated by the Worcester County Horticultural Society, is underscoring health and wellness for "people, plants and the planet" throughout its programming next year.
Other events will focus on vegetable gardening, sustainable gardening, healthy cooking, yoga, meditation and tai chi. And guided garden tours are held Sundays throughout the year (weather permitting).
Classes range in cost from $15 to $80, and require reservations. Visit www.towerhillbg.org for full details.