In the meantime, many are getting ready for spring with the help of University of Illinois Extension's YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/uiextension. The channel offers more than 230 U of I Extension videos covering all aspects of gardening in the Midwest — from pruning shrubs to creating a water garden, and everything in between.
"When it comes to something like late-winter pruning, there's just no substitute for seeing a demonstration up close," said Jane Scherer, urban programs specialist with U of I Extension and creator of the YouTube channel.
"YouTube gives us a chance to reach gardeners on their schedule, at their convenience. With a smartphone, you can actually watch one of our pruning demonstrations when you're out in the yard and looking at the tree or shrub you want to work on. When you can see how the experts prune branches, and then immediately replicate what they did on your own landscape plants, you're much more likely to do it right."
At this time of year, U of I Extension's YouTube videos on houseplants and planning for the next growing season are especially popular.
"Serious gardeners spend the winter studying seed catalogs and sketching out their ideas for spring," Scherer said. "We have videos on interpreting descriptions in seed catalogs, planning gardens for 'difficult' spaces, butterfly gardening, and results from our 2011 annual flower trial garden, among others."
The videos feature several U of I Extension horticulture educators.
"During the past year, we've posted more than 100 gardening-related videos, so there's always something new to look at," Scherer said. "Gardeners can subscribe to our YouTube channel feed, so they'll be notified when we've posted new videos.
"We can't make the cold temps, ice and snow go away, but maybe our videos can help make the long winter months a little more enjoyable and productive for people who just can't wait to get back out in the garden."