Thursday, September 11, 2008
Five ways I prepare for cold weather gardening
Notice I didn’t use the W word. You all know that we hardcore gardeners would naturally find it somewhat difficult to get through the Northeastern and Midwestern cold months, so should it surprise you that many of us have developed strategies to make the non-gardening months fly by? Of course it doesn’t.
At top you see one of the ways. I love buying cut flowers for inside; indeed, I don’t really like cutting flowers from the garden even at the height of the season. (The reason this mantelpiece is so funereally lush is that this is the only place the cat won’t bother them.) I do cut flowers in summer, but I think cut flowers and cut flower arrangements are a whole other species from flowers in the garden. I buy flowers in the summer, but I buy even more in the winter and early spring. The early spring flowers, especially tulips, seem to lend themselves to indoor arrangements, which brings us to …
Forcing tulips and hyacinths. I have also forced unusual tazetta daffodils (NOT paperwhites) and scilla. I have great luck with hyacinths and even tulips, thanks to my root cellar and bright plant room. One hyacinth can scent a whole room and a table of them is very pretty. The tazettas appear in December and January, the hyacinths appear in late January/early February, and the tulips in late February.
In the late winter/early spring I am also very busy ordering plants from Bluestone Perennials, Select Seeds, Plant Delights, and Brent and Becky’s. This is a very long process because it takes a while to winnow out enough plants to make a second home equity loan unnecessary.
I’ve noticed that houseplants are somewhat of a dirty word around the garden blogosphere. People who will go to any lengths to keep their outdoor plants going—not to mention cheerfully replace them when they croak—turn into miserly pessimists when it comes to indoor plants. God forbid one should die; that often means an end to all future indoor gardening endeavors. Well, I love my houseplants; sure, they die periodically, but, just like outdoor plants, they can be replaced.
And then there is indoor seed-starting. I have failed miserably so far, but haven’t totally given up. It seems to be all in the lighting; perhaps this winter will be the time to conquer that hurdle altogether.
There are so many more than five ways; after all, we're gardeners, no matter what month it is. I must say, blogging all year-round makes four season gardening much easier.