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the daily gardener

winter still

Winter showed up, as expected, covering the ground with a 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.

The chill set the watery blanket into its surroundings and for a few days everything looked frozen in place, totally still. Read more…

thirteen below

The year started bleak and frigid, the freeze of Saint John regaled us with temperatures that amount to thirteen below, considering wind chill. Ice, snow, bitter weather, the works. I’m not complaining or anything, after all it’s January, its supposed to be cold.

Looking for a silver lining in the desolate landscape, well, for one, snow protects the perennials from freezing, so that’s a good thing. Snow also provides regular amounts of water, so necessary to the dormant plants, as it melts. And that’s all I have. Read more…

hardiness zones

If you’ve been gardening for a while, no doubt you know what hardiness zone your pride and joy grows in. You know what plants need winter protection, what plants need to be moved indoors for winter, and what plants won’t be bothered even by arctic winters.

A few amendments to the general hardiness zone information. Strange as it may seem, the latter is not set in stone. The trend in recent years has been for the zones to shift towards getting warmer. Don’t get excited about it, whether or not your 5B zone has now officially become a zone 6, winter will still be gruesome. Read more…

the fullness of summer

There is a time around the middle of July when the garden looks absolutely resplendent. It feels like every flower is in bloom, competing for attention. The late spring blooms haven’t faded yet and the some of the late summer ones decide to show up early, so there is a surreal mix of seasons that coexist in harmony before my very eyes: delphiniums, lilies, salvias, roses, daisies, bee balms, cone flowers, catmints, lavender, yarrow, spider flowers, black eyed Susans, day lilies, hostas, coral bells, and last, but not least, giant clumps of fragrant garden phlox.

Read more…

morning, sunshine!

What strange weather we’re having, with thirty degree temperature changes from one day to the next! Right now we’re in cold mode and the sixty degrees feel quite chilly after the tropical climate we experienced only a couple of days ago.
It rained a lot and the garden took on that fierce look it gets every time it is left to its own devices. More weeding, more weeding. Read more…

full spring

After the annuals and veggies were moved to their permanent location, the flower beds cleaned and the perennials spruced up, the roses pruned, the fall blooming plants divided and moved and the summer bulbs planted, one would think that the gardener can sit back with a cup of coffee in some cozy verdant nook and relax.
Guess again! Here is the list of activities for this month. Read more…

almost spring

In anticipation of good weather I’m already planning some gardening activities, there are summer bulbs to be planted and perennials beds to be cleaned up for spring.I took a stroll through the back yard this morning, and even though most of the snow is still there, I can feel nature breathe in the spring sun. After plodding through day after day, bullied by cloudy skies and bone chilling temperatures, I almost forgot how beautiful the garden is, how exhilarating it is to feel it warm up and try to guess the fresh growth right under the soil surface, almost ready to breach it. 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…

rain

I woke up to wonderful booms of thunder and lightning flashing through the sky early in the morning. Instant happiness. The air was so warm, humid, and charged with electricity, that it felt like the middle of June. I almost expected to find a lush summer garden when I went out the door.
I love the rain. Not the miserable November drizzle that can’t make up its mind whether to freeze or not, but the powerful downpours of summer, when the gloomy sky is ripped open by thunderbolts and the rain falls to the earth in sheets, not drops, and you can hear its drumbeat on the roof. Read more…

I’m late, I’m late!

I need to speed up the garden planning if I don’t want the roses to leaf out before I get a chance to prune them. See? This is why the wiser gardeners of olden times like to do all the preparation work while mercury is frozen in the thermometer, spring tends to sneak up on you.
Of course now I’m late with the seed starting, spring cleaning, bulb planting, plant ordering, and pretty much everything else. Read more…