"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gardening in winter.

As I watched the news this morning and saw how much snow places like New York has gotten, I almost feel guilty admitting that I've gotten quite a bit of gardening done in the last week.  Aside from me complaining about the rain during the winter, which we have had a lot of, when we do get a break it's usually mild enough to go outside.  Parts of the yard are too wet to do a lot with, but still other areas can be weeded (ever growing weeds, a downside to a mild winter) and there are plenty of perennials that need cutting back.
Today I did a little more winter sowing:  Foxglove 'Apricot Faerie Queen', Blue Flax, Nicotiana sylvestris and Cleome 'Rose Queen'.   Some of the seeds that were winter sown on January 10th are already sprouting.  Both Hollyhock and Lupine had germinated by January 22nd.  Now the fun of checking on the rest of the seeds starts just waiting to see which ones will be next.  Every time I lift the lids it's like opening a present and wondering what will be inside.

Last spring I finally got the shed (or Bothy thanks to Edith Hope for teaching me something new) that I had been wishing for.  I call this part of the garden the "shed garden" (creative aren't I?).  I finally got some Primroses in which has brightened the area up.  Daffodils, Tulips and Bluebells are all poking through.  Having a shed to work in during the winter has been really nice.  I finally have a place to store my tools, seeds and other gardening equipment.  The lawnmower wasn't allowed in and sits with a tarp over it behind the shed.  Maybe it will break for good from sitting outside and then the grass will have to be all be taken out.

I plan to hang at least one narrow shelf above the work bench so I have some space to put all the seeds, bulbs, etc.  A lot of this used to sit inside the house piling up on desks and tables all winter.  I love coming out and sorting through seeds or finding tools that are nice and dry rather than them sitting out on the potting bench getting wet and rusty.  One day I'd love to have electricity in here so I can set up grow lights for indoor seed starting.

The "driveway garden" was where I focused my energy yesterday cutting back perennials, weeding and cleaning out leaves.  My neighbor laughed and said, "Are you out here already?"  Then she came back with a large bag of coffee grounds she had picked up at a Starbucks for me to use around some plants.  Today I went back out to the "driveway garden" to sprinkle in the seeds of Breadseed Poppies ('Hungarian Blue' and 'Imperial Pink') and my favorite Larkspur 'Shades of Blue'.

As well as finding Phlox already starting to come up I saw that the buds on the Magnolia tree 'Vulcan' getting plumper.  I'm a bit nervous about the buds getting damaged in freezing weather which I'm sure we'll get again this winter, but for now it was nice to see since it's only been here and couple of years and hasn't bloomed yet.

Yesterday I made a visit to the nursery to pick up a Sarcococca for the entry garden, while I was there a women that works there told me that many of the roses were already in.   Bare root trees and blueberry bushes were there as well, it's hard to believe it's almost that time again. Pin It


  1. I am jealous. Look at all the gardening you're doing. Although, it is warm here today. If I didn't have to work, I'd be out there at least checking on everything. I hope to sharpen the pruners so we can tackle a few winter pruning projects soon. Nice to see the inside of your bothy--love it!

  2. Catherine, your shed looks wonderful. Mine houses the snowblower, bags of concrete mix, hanging baskets, soil, pots, tomato cages, etc., no room for me inside.

    But, it is a neccesity and quite cute on the outside.


  3. I too enjoyed seeing the inside of your Bothy...it is getting really close and the excitement is, well, you know...exciting!!!

  4. I'm so glad you got to work in your garden, and I loved seeing inside your little blue shed, that's pretty neat!
    So, this time of year you are getting your rain, but I assume you must get enough sun from time to time for those buds to sprout or is it the temps?

  5. Oh wow, I am so jealous of your gardening shed. It's gorgeous! We are building one hopefully this summer.

  6. Oh how I'm itching to get my fingers back in the dirt. It'll be a while for me - still a lot of snow in our yard. And I sure love your little garden shed!
    'hugs from afar'

  7. It's cool seeing inside your shed, I really need to clean mine out. I have a tendency to just stuff things in haphazardly, and now it's hard to find what i need.

    I too feel bad about all the people on the East Coast having such a horrible winter. Most of my relatives are there!

    Which nursery did you go to? I was at Sky Nursery yesterday picking up blueberries and gooseberries. I almost bought a Sarcococca, but it wouldn't have fit in the car with the berry bushes.

    I got a lot done in the garden these last few days too.

  8. You do a lot of real gardening in winter. Although we don't have much of a winter here, this is the time for the 'skeleton' to be strengthened.

  9. Ack! Not fair ... you've got PRIMROSE blooming!!! Oh, how I love them. And the pussy willows ... sniff!

    I was so excited over the blizzard we had yesterday with 15" of that gorgeous fluffy white stuff ... with 3 more storms encroaching shortly ... UNTIL I see your gorgeous blooms.

    Well, I'll be patient & just visit you more often ... chuckle.

    Have a beautiful eve ~
    TTFN ~

    GIVEAWAY ends Sunday

  10. I LOVE this post! I too have been out in the gardens getting a lot of work done. It is so funny to read about your neighbor commenting about you being outside already. The same thing happens to me! I think they all think I'm a little crazy (might be cause I talk to the plants!). I love your shed, it looks so fun! I love this time of the year, watching everything pop up, but I'm always so fearful that there is still Winter lingering around the corner. Bye the way, Sarcococca is one of my FAVORITES! I am growing a hedge between my neighbors front yard and ours and have some of the ground cover in my shade garden. It is like heaven this time of the year1

  11. Your shed is so tidy! But, then, so is your garden. I am ashamed. :)

  12. Your zone confuses me sometimes. I am envious of your sowing seeds -- though I threw some poppies before Thanksgiving... go figure.

    Your shed is wonderful, what a nice place to have for all your garden stuff.

  13. Janet's comment cracked me up. Our Zone confuses her sometimes. Uh, yeah. It confuses us too doesn't it?

  14. Becca - I think it must be the temperature because it's still been pretty overcast. I was afraid some of my plants were going to drown.

    Alison - I was at Molbak's, but my friend and I are planning a trip to Skye soon.

  15. The inside of your shed looks as neat and tidy as your kitchen...I can see we're dealing with a perfectionist here!

    Your garden is beginning to look ever so exciting - you have so many wonderful seeds germinating it's going to be a riot of colour in the next few months. And, against the beautiful shade of blue of your house and outbuildings, it's all going to look glorious. Oh, how envious I will be then, as we'll be heading into winter (although I can't complain, as winter is our rainy season and after the hot, dry summers, you have no idea how welcome the rain is! Everything turns green overnight!)

    I am really excited to see your garden growing & blossoming as the warmer weather sets in. For us, in the Southern hemisphere, it is miraculous the way your gardens transform from the bareness of winter into the lush, colourful, floriferous and verdant growth of spring...seemingly overnight!

    I can appreciate that a great deal more planning and preparation is required. We have continuous growth (and greenery) all through winter, but the rate is just very much slower. All our winter flowering shrubs provide the much needed colour. Our summers are so hot and dry that unless we have taken precautions (mulching, planting trees & groundcovers to provide shade, watering regularly) our gardens will die...& many do!)

  16. Hi,

    Lovely shed, I'd love to have a similar space to work like that. At the moment our shed is a dumping ground for stuff, it should be closer to the house and then I might actively use it more.

    Lovely fat buds on the Magnolia, very exciting!

  17. Dear Catherine, The Bothy looks wonderful and is well on the way to becoming fully furnished as all the best bothies should be. Just the addition of some tea making facilities [a camping stove if no electricity]and a battered armchair and it will be absolutely perfect. Of course....no gardening will get done.....but that is a minor detail!!
    The garden is looking wonderfully tidy and poised for the first bursts of spring. Happy Gardening Year!!

  18. I always joke that "spring" starts the day after Christmas. We can work in our garden almost year-round, though I do think the neighbors look at me funny too. It's almost like my presence in the garden irritates them because they feel guilty they aren't out working too. I've never figured out how to explain to people who hate yardwork that it is what I find most fun.

    Anyway, my mom is outside "working" in the garden right now. She could hardly wait to get her gloves on!

  19. Love the 'Bothy' name Edith Hope gave it - so much nicer sounding than shed. ;-) Don't ya just love hanging out in there? I know my greenhouse is my 'mancave' here. Just so nice to have a place to go and be alone - I have my office but it's just not the same.
    The Magnolia buds are wonderful and look like pussywillows. That just reminded me that I got a pussywillow last summer. Can't wait to see it full of little fuzzies.
    Your Primroses look good, also reminds me I put a couple in the greenhouse, maybe I'll go see if they are still alive.

  20. I am most jealous of your shed - it looks like somewhere I could spend much time. You just need a heater and some lights and your family might think you have left home.

    My garden is split into areas with quickly unimaginative names e.g Top of the wall border, slope border, pond border!!!

  21. You are out playing in the dirt and my garden is still under two feet of snow:( Have a great time out in the garden this weekend. Take care.

  22. Catherine your primroses are so pretty and do brighten up the bed. That potting shed is going to be so handy.My kitchen and hallway starts looking like a potting shed after I begin seeding along with overwintered plants. LOL! I cannot wait to see all your pretty poppies. I have been telling bloggers that I have poppies too but they are hidden by the snow.LOL!I hope I got poppies under that snow anyway. Have a wonderful weekend!

  23. Hi dear Catherine,

    I think we're on the same page...getting LOTS of gardening done this week (don't tell my editor!). Still in my nightgown NOW and covered with straw and soil. I spread a bale of hay throughout the yard. Couldn't do it last year with straw because of the photo shoot and I think that my garden suffered during the summer.

    Planted rhubarb and artichokes today and once they start galloping I'll tuck lettuce and flowers in with them.

    Sending love from the garden,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  24. What a wonderful shed, I don't know what I love more, the exterior or the interior. Love the primroses too.

  25. I can't wait to see your spring flowers! Also, could you please share with us the benefit of using coffee grounds around your plants? Thanks for sharing!

  26. Scott - Used coffee grounds are high in nitrogen. My Nana always used them around many of her plants. Here's a link to a good article about the benefits. Apparently they help to repel slugs as well.


  27. I'm going to start saving my coffee grounds ~ heaven knows I have enough!
    I'm always so envious of your ability to work year round. It has to take the edge off the rain for sure. We've had it milder than normal but the ground is still frozen.
    Your shed looks so inviting ~ I could lose myself in a place like that. One of my friends has a gardening shed and her husband put pegboard on the walls for her. She's very organized and "tidy" so the pegboard is good for that. Not sure if that would be something you'd be interested in doing or not?
    I hope your Magnolia doesn't get frozen.

  28. The pics are great, thanks for sharing

  29. There's not much poking up through the soil here yet, thought the buds are fat on the trees. We just need a week of warmer weather and spring will be underway.

  30. Being from New York, I must say, I am jealous of all the gardening you are already doing. I'm also jealous of your fabulous shed! Looks like a great place to stay organized all year 'round.

  31. L-O-V-E your garden shed! Awesome-cool!!

    (...and envy your mild Winter - IL is finally being pounded this week with a Blizzard that has long been denied; we sent all the bad weather to NY this year!) ;)

  32. What a wonderful shed! so great to have a space to work in Winter.

  33. You're just too tidy.
    Wish some of it would rub off on me. :}

  34. I bought one of those bare-root trees that you were noticing, a dwarf 4-way (multi) sweet cherry to add to my toy orchard. The day the nursery opened at Sunnyside (in Marysville, Wa) we were there! I thought I would get a lot more done; Jan. 31 was a seductive day for a gardener. Too quickly I was reminded that it is still winter central. While tucking soil under the root ball of the cherry, my finger tips went numb from the wet cold. The sun should come out again to welcome February. I hope to get a little more done on my playground break.
    Get your vitamin D Catherine

  35. Oh, how fortunate you are! We're
    in the midst of a blizzard. The primroses are lovely, Catherine! You are a fabulous gardener.
    Blessings, Beth

  36. I can imagine what that will look like in another month. Magnolia blooms will be a joy to see.

  37. Gosh--you have an over abundance of green thumb. Good thing you don't live where all this energy would go to waste.

    I love your shed and the variety of plants in every corner of the yard. You got it going on.


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