Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Winter Garden

It's now day 4 of the nasty cold and here I sit with a cup of chicken soup and a box of tissues for my ever running nose. Since venturing outside in the cold and wind is absolutely out of the question today, I've decided to blog about my winter garden.

Generally, about the end of October, I begin bringing in any plants I want to over winter. I'm a pretty frugal person and I try to save as much for next year as possible. In the spring, I'll take cuttings from the plants around March or April and begin getting them ready to go outside in June.

Our mechanical room downstairs is unheated with the exception of the hot water heater and it does have a small window for sunlight, but I supplement the light with a fluorescent shop light and in the coldest days of winter, I plug in an oil heater. About once a week, I'll check on things for bugs or if they need water, but other than that, they are pretty much on their own and if they don't make it over the winter, then so be it.

The only way I've been able to over winter the rosemary has been to keep it in a very cool room and keep it just on the dry side, but not dried out completely

The geraniums and ivy in the hanging baskets will look pretty ragged by late winter, but it's amazing how quickly they recuperate with a bit of fresh soil and Miracle Gro

The banana my son sent me three years ago is almost too big for the winter garden this year, but we'll see how he fares. I'll just have to make sure the temps in the room don't drop below 50 degrees.

I dug the dahlia bulbs earlier in the week and they will also overwinter in the winter garden. I usually pot them up in April as they sprout fairly quickly.

Outside this morning, I found one lone blossom on the William Baffin Rose! Talk about one last "Hurrah"

The Joe Pye Weed which was the beautiful, tall centerpiece of the garden is now toast after a few hard freezes. He will be one of the last to emerge from the long winter sleep next spring.

Every year, about this time, I take a picture of the arborvitae to measure how big it's gotten. When I first planted it 4 years ago, it only reached up to three of the clapboards of the house. This year, I counted 17 clapboards. It doesn't seem to be growing terribly fast, but that's a good thing since it's planted close to the house and is blocking the view of the trash cans .

We celebrated H's Italian heritage a few days ago with the Italian Sausage, and this week, I celebrate my German heritage with Pork Schnitzl, cole slaw and steamed veggies. Yum!

I finally finished my North Seas Shawl and am in the process of blocking it here. The pattern will show beautifully when it's all blocked. It was a lot of work, but I learned a few new patterns and had to concentrate on what I was doing. All things good for the old brain. Gotta keep those synapses firing!

The turkey is defrosting in the fridge and I need to get going on other preparations, but not today. I'm still not feeling all that perky!

Hope everyone has a wonderful, warm Thanksgiving.


Kerri said...

Tomorrow will be day 8 for me, but like yours, my cold has gotten steadily worse. I wasn't so bad for first few days, but have felt rotten for the past 3. Now we have snow and cold which doesn't seem to help my frame of mind (strangely enough)!
I'm glad you did this post on your winter garden because you've answered some questions I had (but didn't ask) when you mentioned it last.
We planted an arborvitae in '03 as well, and it's not as big as yours yet.
Your shawl is beautiful. Love the pattern and the color!
Yum, that pork sounds delicious!
I seriously thought about canceling Thanksgiving because of my decided lack of perkiness, but I didn't, of course.
I do hope you feel much better soon. And me too! I hate feeling like this...and I'm positive you do too.
Happy Thanksgiving to you both..and the kitties :)

Zoey said...

I am so sorry that you are feeling poorly. I just HATE colds--totally miserable time for me, so I really feel for you. I always drink tea with lots of honey -- it seems to make me feel a tad better.

Your North Seas Shawl is beautiful--such lacy, intricate work.

I enjoyed seeing how you overwinter your plants. It's pretty much what I do with the two I have left to overwinter. Do you leave your dahlia tubers sitting out like that all winter? I've been putting mine in grocery sacks with the top folded down, thinking I had to do that so they wouldn't totally dry up.

Susie said...

Hi Giddy,
Thanks so much for visiting me :)
I've spent a delightful few minutes exploring your site just a bit. I will return when things aren't quite so hectic around here!
So sorry you're feeling bad from your cold. Mine lasted just over two weeks and it was miserable.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!

kate said...

I love the shawl that you made. The pattern is gorgeous. You are really lucky to have that amazing window in the basement. Mine over-winter in the living room and tend not to do so well.

I hope you are feeling better and can enjoy Thanksgiving!

Muum said...

I came via Zoey's blog, I am in zone 5 in Utah. I am enjoying the visit! HOpe you get over your cold, soon.I have another rosemary I am going to try and over winter, I'll try your ideas.

Giddy said...

Cheers to everyone! Sounds like we are passing this cold around. Today is day 7 and even though I did finally sleep well last night, I'm still feeling yucky today.

Zoey, I will put the tubers in brown paper bags when I get to feeling better. Last year, I separated them into colors, but this year they are all tossed in together. It should be quite a surprise next spring.

Kerri, you're not giving me much hope for a quick recovery. "-) Sure hope you're feeling better before the company comes for Turkey Day.

Susie, thanks for the kind words. I am amazed at how many comments you got on your last post! You are quite popular.

Kate, I know how hard it is to overwinter plants inside the house. The heat and lack of humidity just do them in.

Welcome Muum and thinks for visiting. Just keep that rosemary oool and barely damp. It may look ragged by spring, but a bit of fresh soil, sunshine and some Miracle Gro will perk her up in no time.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Your shawl turned out so pretty, I am very impressed with your stitches.
I hope you are feeling better~ y'all have a Happy Thanksgiving!