Q: It’s a nice day and I want to spend time outside. I’m not ready to tackle any big gardening projects yet. What are some good outside activities to do during mild winter days?


A: Here in Houston, it is not uncommon during the winter to get a snap of freezing weather, then a balmy breeze, a showy lunar eclipse, then who knows what else? Luckily, most days we are fortunate enough to enjoy time outdoors either in our gardens or on the trails!

If you feel like spending time in your garden, here are a few items to check: Trim crape myrtles gently for shape and only remove any dead stems and crossed branches. Let dropped leaves remain in your flower beds; they will break down and provide nutrients to the soil. Mow over any leaves on your lawn to shred and use pine needles as free mulch to layer over tender plants when freeze protection is needed. Winter rains keep the soil moist so be sure to adjust your irrigation schedule.

When you’re done with your quick garden checkup, how about a hike in a park? The Spring Creek Greenway connects many local parks and has miles of trails to hike and bike. Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center has amazing cypress tree-swamp boardwalks and Pundt Park has fishing lakes and a dog park. Further north, Lake Houston Wilderness Park has many miles of trails adjacent to waterways. If it’s warm enough, launch a kayak or canoe into Spring or Cypress Creek and you will feel as if you are out in the wilderness while being only minutes from home!

Winter in Houston is a great time to be outdoors.


Suzzanne Chapman
Author: Suzzanne ChapmanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Suzzanne Chapman is the botanical collections curator at Mercer Botanic Gardens and promotes organic gardening, growing native plants, and protecting the environment. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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