For most of January and February, it's too cold or wet or otherwise disagreeable to be outside, but that doesn't mean gardeners have to give up their favorite hobby completely.
Tim Holcomb of Holcomb Garden Centers has prepared a list of Gardener's Resolutions for 2018 that can give you hope for warmer weather.
"I've done them [Gardener's Resolutions] for the past two or three years," says the horticulture veteran, whose family company is now half a century old, giving him a vast array of knowledge to draw upon.
"My dad started the business in 1967, and my two brothers and I have carried it on from there. It started as a feed store and we developed into the garden centers."
Holcomb says basic gardening tips make up two-thirds of the list, but each year he tries to add something new or noteworthy.
"Our goal is to promote horticulture and plants," he says, adding that good gardening and lovely landscaping are contagious. "It's something neighbors enjoy. It benefits the whole community. When you see two or three neighbors out working in their yard, soon the whole subdivision steps it up a little bit."
Here's an edited version of his recommendations for gardeners (see the full list at www.holcombgc.com), along with a few indoor classes to see you through to spring.
Tim Holcomb's Gardener's Resolutions for 2018
» Get inspired. Google lovely garden images. Now plan on creating a lovely garden spot at your home or re-create the whole landscape into a lovely garden. Bring in pictures of your dream garden, along with pictures of your current garden with dimensions, to let the experts guide your way.
» Do not let weeds get out of hand before taking efforts to control them. The old saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is very true for weed control. Most weeds can be easily prevented much easier than trying to control them at maturity. Ask about weed and grass prevention for gardens, landscapes and lawns.
» Use mulches in flowerbeds, vegetable gardens and in the landscape. In the landscape, mulch is the icing on the cake as far as completing a wonderful look. Beyond just looks, mulching helps control weeds, conserves moisture during dry times and adds organic matter back to the soil. Choose natural mulches that complement your landscape or garden.
» Get your soil tested. Having the proper pH level in your soil will help plants flourish. Not having the proper pH level means your plants cannot benefit from the food you give them as it becomes chemically tied up in the soil and not available to the plants.
» Plant a pollinator garden. Honeybees and butterflies have fewer food options than ever before. Make it a point to plant flowers, trees and shrubs that benefit bees and butterflies. They will have food, and we can enjoy the benefits of honey, pollination and watching the butterfly show.
» Grow something you can eat this year. This can be as simple as fresh herbs and vegetables to blueberries and fruit trees. Grapes, berries and fruit planted this year will provide years of wonderful, home-grown flavor for years to come.
» Visit at least one public garden in the region. Consider Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Alabama, Georgia's Atlanta Botanical Gardens and Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain and the University of Tennessee Trial Gardens in Knoxville. Editor's note: The Atlanta Botanical Garden's annual Flower Show is scheduled Feb. 23-25.
» Show a child the wonders of gardening. Share the excitement of a fairy garden, growing and eating a cherry tomato or planting a fruit tree to grow up with. Plant the seed of horticulture and unleash a lifetime of gardening joys.
» Take time to smell the roses. Yes, the word gardening is a verb meaning work, but it provides a sense of oneness with the Earth, it provides exercise, and it benefits birds, bees and butterflies. Landscaping increases home values, and shade trees help cool our homes in the summer. Breathe in the fragrance of a fresh-mowed lawn, taste the fruit of your labor and relax in the shade of a tree. Life is good. Enjoy it.
BEES ON A BICYCLE
1909 Market St., 703-225-9686
› Saturday, Jan. 20: Essential Oils Made Easy, 2 p.m. Learn about the essence of a plant (literally), the source of essential oils, used for centuries in other cultures for medicinal, aromatic and culinary purposes.
› Wednesday, Jan. 24: Designing Your Spring Garden, 5:30 p.m. Learn how to arrange plants, place beds, use containers and overcome other challenges in garden design.
› Thursday, Feb. 8: Terrariums: A Whole Garden Contained, 5:30 p.m. How to create a whole garden in one spot. $15 plus supplies bought on-site.
› Saturday, Feb. 17: The Toxin-Free Home, 2 p.m. How to clean your home, your hair, your laundry, without toxins, using natural plant essences
› Saturday, Feb. 24: Drinking Shrubs, 4 p.m. Learn to make plant-based cocktails.
› Thursday, March 8: Planting for Pollinators, 5:30 p.m., Chattanooga WorkSpace, 302 W. Sixth St. $15
› Saturday, March 17: Essential Oils for Bath and Beauty, 2 p.m. Learn how a plant’s essential oils are beneficial for the skin and hair, for soothing muscles, easing stress and even warding off bugs.
› Thursday, March 22: Succulent Bar Happy Hour, 6:30 p.m. Plant a succulent arrangement, learning what soil works, how to place rocks in the garden for special interest and other tips. Fee depends on supplies chosen. Snacks and beverages provided. Co-hosted by Inspire Chiropractic.
THE BARN NURSERY
1801 E. 24th St. Place, 423-698-2276
› Saturday, Jan. 13: Miniature Garden Make & Take Workshop, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Each $35, all-ages session includes a container, potting soil, charcoal, colorful stones, a few plants and figures and, of course, fairy dust. Repeats at same times Saturday, Feb. 3.
› Saturday, Jan. 27: Terrarium Make & Take Workshop, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Each $35, all-ages session includes container, potting soil, charcoal, colorful stones and a few plants and figures. Repeats at same times Saturday, Feb. 24.
HOLCOMB GARDEN CENTER
5513 Highway 153 in Hixson; 423-877-8782
2705 Battlefield Parkway, Fort Oglethorpe; 706-861-4769
› Saturday, Jan. 27: How To Have a Beautiful Lawn, 3 p.m., Hixson location. Spring lawn class is free, but space is limited. Call 423-877-8782 to leave a name and number in case of cancellation due to inclement weather.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN NURSERY
1100 Hubbard Road, Signal Mountain; 423-886-3174.
Note: Must register for all classes.
› Saturday, Jan. 13: Kokedama Class, 10 a.m. This form of bonsai is a moss ball bound in string to become a structural art form. $35.
› Saturday, Jan. 20: Benefits of Attracting Birds to Your Garden, 10 a.m. There are reasons to attract birds to your yard beyond the pleasure of their company. Learn how they can improve your health and well-being. Free; limited space.
› Saturday, Jan. 27: Fairy Garden Workshop, 10 a.m. Build a miniature world of your own with a container, soil, rocks, moss and three plants included in the fee. Other accessories at additional cost. $30.
› Saturday, Feb. 3: Terrarium Art Workshop, 10 a.m. Scale down the plant world with living art under glass. Bring your own container or buy on-site. Cost depends on materials used.
› Saturday, Feb. 10: Valentine’s Cork Succulent Wreath, 10 a.m. Use up all those extra wine corks. $20 covers materials.
1000 E. 30th St.; 423-493-9155
› Saturday, March 3: Pruning Intensive, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Hands-on workshop to learn the art and science of pruning with landscape architect Matt Whitaker. Outdoor instruction; dress for weather. $40 members, $45 nonmembers. Limited to 35.