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I woke up this morning to a wispy snow flurry, the thin and icy kind that comes about when temperatures drop too low. Eighteen degrees, to be precise. It settled, unsure, in a thin, powdery layer that still lets the ground show through.

I almost hesitated to disturb the pristine cover when I went out into the back yard to put seed in the bird feeder. It doesn’t feel cold, though, I don’t know why, just eerily quiet and still, like it is in winter sometimes, as if the thin layer of snow absorbed all the sounds. Read more…

indoor bulbs

On 16, Jan 2018 | No Comments | In plants, wintergarden | By All Year Garden

Paper whites and hyacinths for the winter holidays, how great is that! A single hyacinth can fill an entire house with fragrance.

Growing bulbs indoors is just as maintenance free as growing them outdoors: plant them and forget them. Of course if they are inside the house in a pot they need regular watering and could use a plentiful dose of fertilizer to give them a good start.

The bulbs available late in the fall are already winterized (they have been stored in a cool dry place to simulate their natural vegetative cycle, so they are ready to bloom as soon as you plant them). Read more…

the other begonia

On 12, Dec 2017 | No Comments | In plants, wintergarden | By All Year Garden

This is what I love about gardening, there is always something new and exciting to learn! I got this plant expecting it to perform like the tuberous begonias I’m used to. The latter are rightfully called the roses of the shade because of their large, full and lush flowers that last and last… I didn’t know why this particular plant didn’t bloom over the summer, so I blamed my predicament on the heavy soil or diminished sun exposure and hoped to see flowers next year in a different location.

It turns out this is not a tuberous begonia, but a rhizomatous begonia. What’s the difference? Read more…

plant catalogs

If you are a dedicated green thumb, all you do after winter begins is sit around and wait for it to be over. Two long months of dreary weather later, the sight of spring catalogs gracing your mailbox is a hopeful sign of better days to come. Everybody has some signs they swear by that spring is drawing near. Some people go by the buds on the trees, others by the first crocuses, I go by the arrival of spring catalogs. Read more…

winter, still

The snow showed up, as expected, covering the ground with thick blanket of snow. Snuggled inside the house with a hot cup of tea, I quietly looked out into the strange landscape, a blend of snow storm and wind driven fog, its milky atmosphere so thick it reduced visibility to only a few feet. From this eerie cloud that melted into the ground pulling and swirling like translucent taffy, snow kept sifting down, first icy and windswept, then thick, serene and fluffy, then windswept again. Read more…


Usually the feast of St. John brings the coldest day of the year, and this year was no exception. I cozy up indoors with a hot cup of herbal tea and dreamy gardening books as the thermometer indicates 8 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

No matter how enthusiastic one is about gardening there are limits to what’s possible and temperatures approaching 0F definitely rule out any outdoor activity. Read more…

out of focus

The weather is fickle, leaning on the side of bright and sunny right now. It rained hard yesterday, and the sky was so dark it looked like dusk in the middle of the afternoon. Sunshine, rain, sunshine again.
The temperatures rose and fell with the moisture levels, trying to stabilize into a more seasonally appropriate range. Read more…

garden love

It’s been so warm this week, with temperatures in the sixties and thick summer downpours, that I almost forgot we’re in the middle of December. A few days of rain brought the plants out of their winter slumber, and now everything is lush and green again, under blue skies and sunshine, just like it is supposed to be in spring.

Read more…

fall bloomers

On 18, Oct 2016 | No Comments | In plants, wintergarden | By All Year Garden

I’m always in awe of the energy that propels fall bloomers to spring forth flowers, often weeks or days before the first frost. There are so few of them, and understandably so.

I’m not talking about the frost tender plants from warmer zones that act as annuals in cold climates, those whose winters were supposed to be mild but had to surrender their natural growing cycles to the whim of the heartless northern gardener.

Read more…

still winter

First, I’ll point out the obvious: the snow cover from last week is still here and is not going to melt because temperatures have stayed consistently below freezing. Read more…