Friday, February 25, 2011

Winter Color

The conventional wisdom around winter gardens is centered on the use of structural evergreens.  For many, they provide strong verticals and horizontals on which to hang the rest of a design.  They can also give you something to look at other than seasonal death and destruction.

For me, they appear as lonely sentinels, guarding the current fashion for leaving perennials with their dead seed heads frozen in the winter landscape.   Only a very few plants hold any interest in the dark winter months, and they are worth considering for the city garden. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

February in the Garden

There are few things drearier than a February garden.  Leaving your own to look for interest in someone else’s garden is invariably unrewarding.  But February is a good month to prune deciduous shrubs, and if you lack a garden of your own, find a friend with one and offer to help prune.  If you play your cards right, you will come home with an armload of branches to force into bloom in your apartment.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blooming Indoors

Flower shops are beginning to stir with the first signs of a far-away spring: they are stocking miniature daffodils and small pots of primrose.  While they have no longevity and will not re-bloom, their momentary cheer is worth a small investment.  Keeping old plants blooming is another story.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Looking Ahead

      New York City is more like Buffalo these days; grey, snowy and dreary.  The sounds outside are the scraping of shovels and periodic plows, but indoors there is the daily, reassuring thwack of seed catalogs dropped outside the door.  As they pile up on the bedside table or alongside the most comfortable reading chair, nothing seems too exotic or difficult to grow.

Despite this irrational optimism, I have given up getting an early start with indoor seed-sowing and now limit my orders to those seeds that can be sown outside later in the year.  I was happy to eliminate the world of seed starting kits, indoor lights, the succession of drooping seedlings struggling on windows sills, the inevitable (for me) death by “damping off.”   Now free to be away for a day or two without fretting about daily misting, by the time weather permits outdoor sowing both enthusiasm and strength are back at the requisite level.