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Overcoming the Gardening Sabbatical

As much as we would like to be gardening each day there are events that keep us at arm’s length from our greatest desire. Most of us will have to deal with one, or possibly two, nature-inflicted gardening sabbaticals. It is a bane in our gardening lives and one to which we have learned to adapt.


In the winter we start seeds to jump-start the spring season. Some of us are lucky enough to have a greenhouse where we can escape and pretend winter winds do not blow. How lovely it would be to sip coffee in the morning while taking inventory of new seedlings destined for the spring garden. If a freestanding greenhouse is out of reach we build makeshift greenhouses in the basement and on window ledges and the kitchen table.

I think it is the summer garden sabbatical that makes us feel a bit out of sorts. Heat—a lot of heat, for some of our gardening friends—drought, even hurricanes make time in the garden virtually impossible. So what is a gardener to do when summer inflicts a mid-season timeout? Here are a few things I have found to be helpful:

1) Settle in and read. I am yet to meet a gardener who does not have a pile of garden books just waiting to be read.

2) Journal and review photos from the garden. This is a great time to organize and ID garden photographs and record what worked and what didn’t work in your garden.

3) Visit your local conservatory. If you have to, take a road trip! A day spent at a garden under glass can replenish the gardening soul.

4) Time for a little TLC for the garden tools. I will admit that I am not the best at cleaning my tools after a day in the garden. But we all know that taking care of our tools ensures their longevity.

5) Dig through garden catalogs, magazines and gardening blogs for inspirations for next year’s garden additions.

My gardening friends, what can you add the list? Do tell.

Jenny Koester, AKA The Landless Gardener, is the Garden Blog Editor for Horticulture magazine and the author of The Garden Life and A Year in the Park.