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Seattle Fling 2011

Garden bloggers meet in Seattle in 2011

Frigid February View from the Bedroom Window

View from the Bedroom Window

View from the Bedroom Window February 5, 2015

The view from the bedroom window by February 5 showed that another 25 inches of snow had fallen since February 1. Cold and often windy with just below zero temperatures on a few nights.

View from the Bedroom Window

View from the Bedroom Window February 10, 2015

Another 18 inches of snow on February 9, but sun on the 10th.

View from the Bedroom Window

View from the Bedroom Window February 27, 2015

Occasional snow showers over the rest of February and continuing frigid temperatures. Minus 12 on February 16 at 7 am. Often windy with wind chill advisories common.  You can see the heavy snow is beginning to slip off the Cottage Ornee. Fortunately, it slipped off the house roof  by itself, while others were having to shovel their roofs. Glad to see February go.

Bright and White and BarelyFreezing

February 10, 2015

February 10, 2015

It is bright and white and barely freezing. The snow has stopped. The plow arrived. One car got  out.

The house at the End of the Road

The house at the End of the Road

Sargent crabtree in Sunken Garden February 10, 2015

Sargent crabtree in Sunken Garden February 10, 2015

The snow has fallen and drifted into the Sunken Garden, half burying the Sargent Crabtree. The western wall is over six feet high – also buried.

Cottage Ornee February 10, 2015

Cottage Ornee February 10, 2015

Plowed Snowbank February 10, 2015

Plowed Snowbank February 10, 2015

If you look closely you’ll see a tiny branch at the right of this photo, hinting of the three hydrangeas now buried – and probably damaged. Sigh.

Plowed snowbank at the End of the Road

Plowed snowbank at the End of the Road

We are really really happy that our ‘driveway’ is town road, plowed and maintained by the  town, but I do wonder how far my wood chip pile has been pushed into the field.  Oh well, it will be waiting for me in the spring. Temperature reached 32 degrees today.

For more Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.

From Heath to Cambridge, MA

Heath, MA February 5, 2015

Heath, MA February 5, 2015

On Thursday the snow stopped long enough for me to make my escape from Heath, onward to Cambridge, MA for a visit with my son and a writer’s workshop organized by the Garden Writer’s Association.

Porter Square, Cambridge MA

Porter Square, Cambridge, MA

And what did I see when I got to Cambridge, MA?  Snow. And ice. And icy icy sidewalks.  I should have brought my YakTrax.

Porter Square in Cambridge, MA

Porter Square in Cambridge, MA

I think snow is more of a problem in a city, but the trip was more than worth it. C.L. Fornari, author of Coffee for Roses: and 70 Other Misleading Myths about Gardening, and GWA member. She gave a great talk about how to be a great speaker – skills that are also important for the writer, especially if she is trying to make a living. You will hear more about C.L. later. I gave her a copy of my book, Roses at the End of the Road and I think she looks like she is already enjoying it.

C. L. Fornari, author of Coffee for Roses

C. L. Fornari, author of Coffee for Roses

 

Sastrugi Finally Forms at the End of the Road

Sastrugi

Sastrugi February 1, 2015

It hasn’t been a great winter for the formation of sastrugi. The snow has been heavy and wet, not much given to drifting. But this last snow storm brought frigid temperatures and high gusting winds. The result is the first sastrugi of the year forming at the western lip of the Sunken Garden. The word sastrugi is from a Russian word which means snow wave  or caves. We have all noticed them.

sastrugi

Same sastrugi February 2, 2015

More now. The sastrugi  shifts and  the Sunken Garden is filling up with drifts.

Sastrugi

Sastrugi February 3, 2015

I couldn’t resist adding this photo showing the final sastrugi sculpture now that the snow and wind have stopped.

sastrugi

Gentle sastrugi waves February 17, 2014

Some times  the sastrugi waves are very gentle

Sastrugi

Sastrugi cave along the road January 24, 2009

A windy winter brings many sculptural shows like this sastrugi along the road. The wind is a powerful and artistic worker.

Sastrugi

Sastrugi collapse February 3, 2010

Sometimes the sastrugi is so extreme that it collapses under its own weight.  You may also notice the depth of the drift in the Sunken Garden. That stone wall is over 6 feet high.  The Heath winds come blowing from the northwest  across the open field and dump tons of snow into the Sunken Garden. I often have to  shovel the last icy bits of the drift out onto the lawn to help get all the snow out of the garden.

“Blizzard for the Ages” a Bust in Heath

Birch Tree before the "Blizzard for the Ages"

Birch Tree before the “Blizzard for the Ages”

All was quiet and beautiful after a slight snowfall, but the “Blizzard for the Ages” was predicted. Everyone prepared to hunker down. Supermarkets and libraries were unusually busy as hunkering has many aspects. Pots of water set aside along with firewood and flashlight batteries. A state of emergency was declared for Massachusetts and all non-emergency workers  told to stay home.

The snow, a fine dry snow, did not begin in Heath until 10 pm on Monday, January 26.

"Blizzard for the Ages"

“Blizzard for the Ages” 10 am January 27, 2015

This morning I woke to 12 degree temperatures and stiff breezes blowing the fine dry snow off the roof, and across the fields. The “Blizzard for the Ages” seems to be a bust in Heath – for which we are very grateful. The town plow arrived, and we could leave our hill and explore, but I think we will just stay by the fireside.

My Amaryllis Mystery

boxed amaryllis bulbs

boxed amaryllis bulbs

I suppose my amaryllis mystery began on December 11, 2014 when I rather belatedly bought boxed amaryllis bulbs ready for planting and blooming. I knew they would not bloom in time for Christmas, but glamorous amaryllis flowers  are welcome in January and February as well.

I potted all three bulbs up as directed. I did notice that the Athene white amaryllis seemed to have been pruned back more severely or more  recently than the other two. I kept all three bulbs together in our living space which is the warmest part of the house.

Amaryllis on January 19

Amaryllis on January 19

As time passed the three bulbs showed various rates of growth, most especially Athene. If you look closely you can see that I marked her pot with a little W in expectation of a white flower. That bulb never produced any foliage but did send up two bud shoots, one of which began to open a couple of days ago.  We will let the mis-labelling pass. That has happened often enough in the garden, indoors and out. It is the rates of growth that amaze me.  One bulb has produced two bud shoots with  one blooming; one has produced foliage and two bud shoots, one of which is beginning to open; and the third produced foliage and two bud shoots of very different heights.

Is there a solution to my amaryllis mystery?  Is it just c’est la vie? or is there a reason? All three bulbs had exactly the same care and conditions, although we have to assume kind of difference in the striped bulb now blooming.  Any ideas?

Snowflakes and Photographer

Snowflakes

Snowflakes

Snowflakes on the car window early this frigid morning.  And the photographer’s hands.

Snowflake Bentley will tell you more about snowflakes and photographing snowflakes. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells the wonderful story about a Vermont boy born in 1865 who loved snowflakes and learned how to photograph them.

For more Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.

All Kinds of Books for the Reading Season on Wordless Wednesday

Books in the Great Room

Books in the Great Room

Where do you keep your books for the reading season that follows the delightful chaos of the holidays? I will show you my bookshelves – or at least portions of the ranks of bookshelves in my house. There are about 44 feet of bookshelves in the Great Room. This section includes nature refernce books, mysteries, essays and cookbooks and books on cooking.

Cookbooks by the dining table

Cookbooks by the dining table

This array of cookbooks is next to the dining table that also serves as a worktable. This is probably the most used collection of cookbooks in the house.

more cookbooks with an emphasis on baking

More cookbooks, with an emphasis on baking

When we remodeled the kitchen a couple of years ago I gained shelf space for more cookbooks (and the dictionary which must always be at the ready for family ‘discussions’) with an emphasis on baking.

books in the downstairs sitting room

Books in the downstairs sitting room

This is just one section of bookshelves in the sitting room – and you can see it hold more than books. Culinary liquers that can’t fit in the kitchen and Christmas is not quite over at our house which accounts for gifts waiting for more chaos.

books in the bedroom

Bookshelves in the bedroom

A motley collection of books lives in the bedroom – fiction, essays, mysteries, and non-fiction.

garden books in the office

Garden books in the office

My husband and I share a tiny ‘office’ under the eaves, but the books are all ‘mine.’The garden books in this section of office bookshelves have to share with reams of paper, envelopes, toner, etc.

Ever since I learned to read, winter has been a welcomed Reading Season. Where do you keep your books for the reading season? For more (almost) Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.

View From the Bedroom Window – January 1, 2015

view from the bedroom window

View from the bedroom window

The view from the bedroom window on January 1, 2015 is sunny and frigid. 16 degrees this morning. What view from the window will  I be enjoying on January 1, 2016?  Only time will tell

My Indoor Rosemary

Rosemary plants indoors

Rosemary plants indoors

I have two rosemary plants that grow outdoors during the summer, and then come indoors for the winter. The plant on the left is a prostrate rosemary, bought in error when I was in a hurry. I grew it outdoors that first season adn then potted it in this handsome redware container. I did not put it in the ground again for no reason other than inertia. The plant still lives and I have been known to harvest a few sprigs from time to time. It has even produced lovely blue flowers, but it is not really a happy plant.

Even though it was looking sad this past summer, I still didn’t put it in t he ground, but I did buy a small regular rosemary plant at the garden center. I planted that and it thrived in my herb bed all summer. In the fall I potted it up, using regular potting soil, and brought it in the house. First, I brought both plants into the Great Room, a bright (south and west windows) room that is not heated, to help the plants make a transition to an indoor environment.

Later I brought the plants upstairs to a guest room, with south and east windows, which is also very cool. The thermostat is set for 55 degrees at night (I require  a cold bedroom) and stays cool during the day because I do most of my living downstairs – near the woodstove.  I can tell you the worm farm in that guest room are not all that happy, but the rosemaries do fine.

I have brought rosemary plants indoors over many years. Originally, thinking of rosemary as a mediterranean  plant thriving in dry contitions, I tended to underwater. I think it is a good idea to be aware of one’s tendencies. Underwatering kept the rosemary from making it through the winter. I now water rosemary much as I would any houseplant, not allowing it to dry out completely. I’ve learned that my cool indoor climate allows for a once or twice a week watering.

I think I can promise that my prostrate  rosemary will finally go in the ground in the spring. I cannot be so cruel to keep it in a pot for yet another summer. I doubt that it would survive.