White Flower Farm

e_11_10_08_body_0284361I just received a catalog from White Flower Farm, in Litchfield, CT, and they are trying to entice me with Amaryllis. It is hard not to be dazzled by the candy striping petals. Also, they have a white bloom with red edging as if a seamstress put a thin border around them that is oh so preppy! Going to pour over this for a while this crispy, cold morning.

Greenhouses

greenhouse1Oh my, what I would give to have a professional greenhouse at home. Plant propagation is one of my favorite things in the plant arena to do for the late Fall and Winter. One violet can keep you busy, let alone ALL of your houseplants. Taking cuttings from your begonias is so simple. Even if you don’t have the above greenhouse, you can recycle all those 6-pack nursery plastic containers by plunging leaf cuttings from begonias and violets into them in the Winter. Coleus? Just plunge into water. Even roses are easier than you might think. Stem cuttings need to be from 2 to 3 inches long from node to node. You need to remember which side is up, though, so an easy trick is to cut dirt-side at a sharp angle with your by-pass pruners just below a leaf node. Cut the top-side straight across just above another leaf node. You don’t need to keep the leaves on. As a matter of fact, the leaves will distract energy from the roots if they are too plentiful during the process. With your leaf propagation, try cutting the larger leaves in half to send more energy to the roots. And, most of all, you have nothing to lose in trying! And, it is quite a lot of fun. Like having puppies without the puppies.

Pruning Trees

pruningtreesPeople ask me all the time, “when to prune?” The best answer I can give is late Winter. Before any part of the tree leaves dormancy and begins to grow again. Never in the Fall. Pruning always promotes growth, and, in the Fall you want your trees to harden. What do you think? This is open for discussion. I attend lectures on this subject as often as I can find them available through horticulture societies. And, therefore, I am often seeking advice myself when it comes to trees.

Garden Structure After The First Frost

structuregardenLate Fall and Winter are pretty times in the garden. The deciduous patches become basket-twined, architecturally interesting pieces for your contemplation. This time of year also reveals your structure and whether or not you have achieved the balance or harmony of textures that will sprout later. But, the Winter garden is it’s own beautiful thing. Bunny Williams, the notorious East Coast gardener, in her book, An Affair With A House, takes the moment to publish this fantastic, deciduous minimalism that belies our seasonal cycle of moods. When do you not feel deciduous yourself?

It is always a good idea to plant for Winter. If your hydrangea garden is a large patch, don’t let it stand alone in the Winter, and, try Nandina domestica alongside it. The play of sticks on stalks on sticks and the evergreen, color changing extravaganza of the Nandina compliments the baroness of the Hydrangeas. Evergreen boxwood, as you see above, makes perfect Winter markers that are hardy and wait patiently for your bulbs to sprout. And, don’t stop gardening in the Winter!

Planning For Next Year: November’s Necessities

plannedplanting1plannedplantingIt never fails to surprise me how FAST this time of year flies by. The onset of the holidays (yes, see, Halloween has already come and gone!) takes up your conscious and unconscious life to a degree that time in the garden just slips by, sometimes. And, if you want to be crowded into blooms in early Spring….November is a good time to plan your seedbeds. December and January you will be busy starting your seeds, taking care of your indoor garden and those in the greenhouse, too (if you are lucky enough to have one.) You are going to be busy indoors all Winter. So get out your hoe in the next three weeks, take a soil sample and send it to your Master Gardener volunteers at your nearest extension office and stake off your dream (see above photos).