Tag Archives: weather

And Yet Some More

snow in botanical gardenFor the record, I don’t hate winter or snow; I would much rather have a cold snowy winter than a brown, gray, muddy winter. At least you can play in the snow! I like XC skiing, sledding, ice skating, building snowmen and snow forts and all that good stuff. Snow also contributes some nitrogen to the soil and protects perennials from freeze damage. And lucky me, I don’t have to do the shoveling at my house 🙂 !

But Sunday night we had about 6 inches added to the two feet or so on the ground, Yesterday a bit of rain, woke this morning to snow falling again –just got the phone call that school will be dismissed an hour early. Prediction for low of 8 F tonight. Basically, I have run out of things to say about winter. The author of “New Hampshire Garden Solutions”, a great blog about the natural world of the White Mountains, remarks on this long cold snowy winter  –with beautiful photos– in his post “Wintering”. Enjoy!

snow in botanical gardensnow in botanical gardens

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Some Snow

snow in firelane Monday night and Tuesday we got about 14-15 inches of snow. Enough for a snow day, hooray! Coffee by the woodstove, lots of shoveling and car clearing, then cross country skiing out the kitchen door and down the unplowed back roads of West Kingston. Life is good…

greenhouse and drifted snowThe Botanical Garden fared well in this storm. The snow is deeply drifted (3-4 feet) in areas, but no broken trees despite fierce winds. I have a theory that we lost so many trees in Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy, and the Blizzard of 2013 that the ones left after those storms are in pretty good shape. Once again lots of rabbit trails through the garden and evidence of human visitors too. With classes cancelled two days in a row, there’s been plenty of time to play in the snow.

metasequoia trunk

snow in garden

Our water garden is under there, somewhere.

icicles on greenhouse

The warmth of the greenhouses always creates a great display of icicles.

Chilly

frosty window

Happy New Year!

“January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow.”

Coldest days of the winter so far are upon us.  I received a gift of an indoor-outdoor thermometer which records minimum/maximum temperatures. Now when I get up 5:30 I know it really IS cold, instead of guessing! I am hoping to skate on the pond by this weekend, something that doesn’t happen every winter here in southern Rhode Island.

frost on glass in conservatory

frost on glass in conservatory

frost5 F this morning up here at the greenhouse, (0 F down at my house) but bright and sunny.  I love the magical, feathery frost patterns that form on the glass inside the conservatory! It’s warm and lovely in the greenhouse, especially when the sun comes out. The grafted citrus tree is blooming, and the scent of orange blossoms is in the air, mixed with the fragrance of the flowering gardenias…heavenly! Since I can only show you the flowers, you’ll have to come in and experience the sweet smells for yourself.

citrus blossoms

Citrus (Citrus limon) blossoms

citrus blossoms

citrus blossoms

Is January cold where you are?

Calliandra californica, Baja Fairy Duster

Calliandra californica, Baja Fairy Duster

Gasteria verrucosa

Wart Plant, Gasteria verrucosa.

bird of paradise

The Flock (Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia reginae)

 

 

 

Not Ready!

 

first snowWell, a little bit ready for winter, as in: prepared. The gardens are mostly cut back, although the Dahlias still need to be dug up and packed away. There’s plenty of wood in the wood shed. Pulled out my winter coat, hat, and mittens. But ready for a couple more months of cold and dark? No.

leaf in snowsnow on sedumsnow on rosesWhat are you doing to get ready for winter?

 

Into July

It’s been quite a while since the last post! With the weather fine and dry through most of June, we spent all our days out in the garden. Now it’s hot and humid, with a tropical storm predicted for Independence Day. It seems early for hurricanes*, but hey, I’m not a meteorologist, I’m a gardener. And so, here are pictures of the garden. Lots of color as we head into full summer!

bee balm/monarda and wild marjoram

Bee Balm (Monarda) and wild marjoram.

daylily

Daylily (Hemerocallis)

astilbe

Astilbe

Anthemis and bright orange Asclepias

More Bee Balm, one of my favorites!

More Bee Balm, one of my favorites!

Lavender (Lavandula) growing along the sidewalk to the greenhouse.

Lavender (Lavandula) growing along the sidewalk to the greenhouse.

* Hurricane Rhyme…… “June: too soon,  July: stand by,  August: upon us,  September: remember,  October: all over.”

Either a  “mariner’s proverb”, or a “Carribean folk saying”,  reportedly first published in “Weather Lore” by R. Inwards in 1898.

 

 

 

Snow Days

Today’s weather is the most dreary mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Monday was an unexpected six inches of snow (no forecast, no hype, sort of refreshing!) But in between was a little gift of a bright sunny mild day with a beautiful layer of fresh snow on the ground.

ericaceous garden in snowbranches with snowtwigs with snowsnow face

A few chores left

snow on epimediumBecause I often work outside, I devotedly check the weather every morning, and evening, and sometimes in between…OK, I am an obsessive weather checker.  It’s either NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, at weather.gov, or Accuweather at accuweather.com.  I usually check both, because sometimes the forecasts are different enough that I am left scratching  my head and wondering how they make their predictions. Suffice to say that while we did get our first snow flurries of the season this morning, it was not the 1-2 inches predicted by… one of the above.

There are still outdoor chores left to do, mostly the last bit of cutting back perennials for the winter. Raking is mostly done, and we won’t begin pruning trees and shrubs until after the new year. The most pressing chore right now is to dig the dahlia tubers, because tonight’s temperature is supposed to be 18 F (or is that 23 F?). Either way, too cold for a plant native to Mexico!

Although it will warm up by the end of the week, we are done planting for the season. By now there is not enough time for perennials to establish new roots before the ground is too cold. It’s a good time to dig new garden beds though, (as long as the ground is not frozen!) and a great time to spread compost on the existing beds. Any time I can switch a chore from spring to fall I do, since spring is filled with it’s own welcome insanity. Where do you garden, and what garden chores do you have left?

Fall Is the Best Time To Plant

digging spade

“Fall is the best time to plant”  That’s what I tell my students (and anyone who asks). The shorter days and cooler temperatures make it easier for transplants to spread their roots without us hovering nearby with the sprinkler. Usually there’s some rain too, though not this fall, not much. But the dry weather is not nearly the problem it would be in the spring and so we are madly digging and dividing perennials all over the garden.

Why divide? After a few years — as few as 3 or as many as 10 — perennial plants begin to lose vigor. Often they grow toward the outside, leaving an empty space in the middle like a bird’s nest. They may flower less, have smaller leaves, or flop over more. They may also have gotten too big for their space in the garden. Dividing re-invigorates the plants, and as Tracy Aust says, “It can be very satisfying, having a rejuvenating effect on perennial and gardener alike.”

Of course, after digging and dividing and transplanting, you may have more plants than you can use.  I overwinter many garden-dug perennials for our spring plant sale, but space is at a premium this year. A truckload of perennials has been donated to two local schools, saving me from having to compost them. Thanks Jayne and Hilary, for gardening with the kids!

One last thought about digging and dividing: the plants may not look great at first but in the spring they’ll look better than ever.

hosta bed The Hosta bed under the Metasequoia was dug up and replanted.

pink chrysanthemumsOver near the Co-operative Extension parking lot we  put in new plants to go with these great Chrysanthemums that look like pink daisies.

bee balm/monardaLauren and I dug, divided, and replanted Bee Balm in the ericacious garden and the sunny border. We also took some Siberian Iris out of a bed that was too shady and put in Ligularia, which I think will do well in this moist, shady spot.

digging Joe-PyeAdam and Ben got started digging up the monster Joe-Pyes in the back of the sunny border. Topping out at 10-12 feet this year, their root balls are two feet across. They are going to be moved back so the rest of the plants can breathe.

dahliasStill no frost here, so flowers continue to bloom, especially dahlias, which seem to get bigger and more colorful every day.