JoAnne Skelly: I’m missing yardwork!

Oregano would be a good plant for a sunny window.

Oregano would be a good plant for a sunny window.

Although the calendar doesn’t quite agree, winter is here. We were given a white Thanksgiving followed by rain and then more snow.

All this precipitation is good for our trees both ornamental and native. My leaf pile has been compressed in half by all the snow, so I should have nicely decomposed leaf mulch for next summer. Even though I’m thrilled to have the ground receive a good soaking, I am missing those beautiful autumn days we were so lucky to have. I even miss raking! I realize how great it felt to be outside doing something productive. Shoveling snow is much harder on my back than raking and I’m not enjoying it much.

I’m also lamenting the chores I didn’t get done. The evergreen trees haven’t been pruned yet. The hoses are coiled up and hidden under the snow instead of having been put away in the garage. I’m not sure if my husband drained the lawn tractor or the lawn mower, which could be a problem when we go to start them next spring. I’m glad I brought my herbicide sprayer indoors so all the O-rings don’t freeze and break.

My mind is turning to thoughts of “I wonder what I could grow indoors right now?” I think parsley might be a possibility and so might cilantro. Oregano would be a good plant for a sunny window. My African violets are blooming and need dividing, which is another “gardening” activity I could do at this time of year.

If I can find bulbs, I could force them for blooms in a few weeks. I almost bought an amaryllis bulb this week. It tempted me with its strong upward reaching green shoot. I’m afraid I’m not into poinsettias, but I do love succulents. I also don’t care much for most traditional houseplants, particularly pothos or spider plants. Hoyas, on the other hand, are tempting.

However, you might remember we have two new kittens in the house, now seven months old. Unfortunately, most plants are bad for them. I might not be growing any plants at all unless I can keep cats from chewing on them.

I know I said weeks ago I was ready for a rest, but after about two weeks of dreary gray days, I’m thinking of plants and growing things again. I’m afraid I’m going to have to practice Zen behavior and wait until the wide outdoors is available to satisfy my horticultural yen.

JoAnne Skelly is associate professor and Extension educator, Emerita at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at


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