Saturday, January 30, 2010


OK...There really is nothing you can do outside right now, unless the snow is soft enough and you can knock it off your shrubs and bushes. I don't know about where you are, but here it's VERY cold, so ice would be the demon of the day. Do NOT try to knock the branches during this kind of cold, or if there is ice on those branches. They will BREAK, which would not be a good thing.
As you may know if you've been reading my blog lately, I'm trying something new with advertising. I have removed advertising from the side of my blog. I really don't like the commercial look it provides. However, I am also hoping to have my blog pay for itself, and removing the advertising doesn't help (even though I've never been able to see how those ad's worked. It certainly never put any pennies in MY pocket! I don't know about other blogs.) So I've decided to try and advertise DIRECTLY with gardening centers.
In the future I'll try a few techniques to make this work. At first, I thought I'd just advertise with links within the blog. However, this doesn't necessarily allow you, my reader to know that this is a commercial endeavor, rather than an "editorial" comment. The other possibility is to insert a separate paragraph below the posting, explaining that it is a "Post Promotion", and writing a few lines, more or less advertising that company and telling why it would be a good place for you, the gardener, to visit. I would provide the link within that paragraph, which hopefully you would "click" helping the gardening center with a true and serious connection.
For instance:
This morning I was reading an email from the WHITE FLOWER FARM. In it, they, like me, talked about things you could be doing during this season. (The White Flower Farm is a wonderful place to visit and buy anything for the garden. I have done business with them for over 30 years. They stand behind their products and are a delight to deal with.) At any rate, like me, they suggest enjoying your winter scenes and start thinking about what could look pretty this time of year, and then make plans for planting them in the spring.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Ah yes, it's the end of January and all that seems to be on the minds of gardeners these days is the weather and the catalogs that arrive daily!
I don't know about you, but it's VERY cold here. It's in the single digits; we've got a fresh coating of snow on the ground; the local bridge (Bath, NH) is closed because it's pillars have been rearranged by ice floes that came down in the January Thaw last week. It's a bit of a mess. It's also hard for the folks who live on the VT side of the bridge. They can't get across the bridge to get to work, or just to get to NH. Also, the fire department is on the NH side. NOT a good thing!
However, every day I seem to be getting another catalog. Yesterday it was Renee's Garden. They always send some sample seeds. Yesterday I got some cosmo seeds! Thank you Renee!
I am trying to do something different with my "advertising" on this blog. I've proposed to various gardening centers that I can mention their site (as I did here with Renee's Garden) right in the posting. Let's see what happens with that. I hope it works. I hate those meaningless ad's that appear on the side of the blog. I'm trying to get rid of all of that really commercial "look". Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Today I removed all the google advertising from the blog. I still have the ones that Blog Spot inserts according to words I use in my posts. I have no choice about that, to my knowledge. If anyone knows how I can get rid of those let me know. I think that's the price I have to pay for a free blog!
I did insert a "donation" button. I have done this blog now for 5 years and in all that time, those Adsense and Linkshare ads have been pretty much useless! So, I'm going to try to monetize this blog in other ways. The donate button is the first one I'll try. I'll probably just leave that one on the blog forever. But, let's see what happens.
The next thing I'll try to do is to convince garden centers, etc. that a little ad on my page might help their business as well.
I do have a few businesses that have advertised directly on my blog. They are the ones labeled "Patio Furniture" which is really "Teak, Wicker &", and "Pro" which reads "flowers" (both in my sidebar.) I would like to get a few more of that type of advertisers.
If I did that, would you use them? Or am I whistling up an empty alley?
This blog takes a fair amount of my time and I'd love for it to contribute to my lifestyle just a little bit.
What do you, my faithful readers, think?

Monday, January 25, 2010


Yesterday afternoon, when we came home, there was about a foot and a half of snow on the ground. We've had a fair amount of snow this year, but not much ice, so the snow is still fluffy.
Then I woke up this morning.
It's raining. It's 48 degrees. The snow has a crust because it's The paths that were touched by fluffy snow yesterday, are now pure ice. It's treacherous outside. Schools have cancelled classes for the day and the radio is bubbling cancellations for all kinds of meetings.
In this part of the country, we are experiencing what we affectionately call the "January Thaw".
According to Wikipedia:
"During this "thaw" period, usually lasting for about a week, temperatures are generally about 10 °F (6 °C) above normal. This varies from year to year, and temperatures fluctuate enough that such a rise in late-January temperature would be unremarkable; what is remarkable (and unexplained) is the tendency for such rises to occur more commonly in late January than in mid-January or early February, which sinusoidal estimates have to be slightly warmer."
So, we're in the middle of it. I guess it's a day to collect our thoughts, read a good book, split or stack wood, and generally get prepared for winter to resume again. In the meantime, we have to deal with the realities of the thaw. We may experience flooding because of the rain; it's a time when the rivers melt enough to toss their frozen tops downstream causing ice jams which can be a huge threat to bridges. These ice floes also get left on the sides of the rivers in meadows and other river lowlands when the high water recedes. They will sit there until spring when they will gradually melt providing a slow release of water into the soil.
Enjoy your "found day". If you have kids, enjoy making cookies or helping with that report that was due today, (providing a wonderful gift of an extra day!) Stay warm and dry and prepare yourself for the resumption of winter in a few days. This is just a fleeting moment of warmth.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I went to a Master Gardener Meeting last evening. They are always fun, especially in the winter. Everyone is SO ready to talk about their gardens.
Getting there involved a trip in a blinding snowstorm over a mountain top! NOT my idea of how to spend 45 minutes. I decided to go home another way. It took me an hour and fifteen minutes to get home, but the driving was less harrowing! There's ANOTHER good reason for spring to get here quickly!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


It snowed again last night. We got about an inch more of that wonderful, fluffy, white stuff.
This is the time to go out and get the snow off the branches, while it's still soft and easily dislodged. Remember, go easy. You don't want to break branches! Take the handle of a rake or shovel, or something, and gently push the branches so the snow flips off and the branch pops up. It's really easy, and the shrub will be so happy for that help.
If you wait until this freezes, the heavy snow and ice will be stuck there for awhile, weighing down the branches and perhaps changing the shape of the shrub. If you try to push it off when it's frozen the branches WILL break, to the detriment of the shrub. So, be kind, and go out and dislodge the snow.
It's also a good excuse to get your days portion of Vitamin D!!!
Here is an article with more information than you'd ever need to know about winter care of trees and shrubs from the University of Minnesota Extension Service. They know about winter in the mid-west!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Remember last September and October when I talked about watering your shrubs and trees generously? Well, today was what that was all about!
It's bitterly cold. It's BEEN bitterly cold the last week or so. The ground is frozen and the frost line is deepening by the day. The snow has turned mostly to ice.
In the meantime, the plants still are exposed to cold air, whether they have leaves (evergreens) or not (deciduous). They are transpiring as we speak. Just like you and I do.
Generally, when leaves are gone (as in deciduous shrubs and trees) the transpiration almost stops. However, we also have leafy evergreens, like rhododendrons, mountain laurel, etc. You will notice how their leaves droop noticeably in the winter. These guys continue to transpire. This is why often the shrubs are wrapped in burlap, sprayed with an antidesiccant or sheltered somehow. It's not only to protect the branches from the weight of the snow, but to shield them from wind, sun and freezing temperatures. As they transpire, or lose moisture through their leaves, they are needing a replacement of water.
Roots are deep and able to find water deep in the soil, if we provided it for them. If we didn't, those plants will have to wait for spring for a drink. Even a thaw does not necessarily provide them with water. The ground is frozen so water and melting snow tend to just run off.
This is worth remembering next fall. Give those trees and shrubs (especially ones with leaves) a good, deep soaking to be sure they have moisture to carry them through a tough winter.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


It's bitterly cold. This morning when we got up it was 2 degrees below freezing. That qualifies as pretty chilly! The snow on the ground is generally fluffy and not a big deterrent to anything. This is New Hampshire after all!
The birds are hungry and needing to keep warm. I guess it's easier to get seed at a feeder on a bitterly cold day. SOOO... We've had at least 100 American Goldfinches at the feeders this morning. There are so many of them that they are feeding from the ground as well as from the feeders. That always makes me happy since that means less clean-up in the spring! The more seed eaten from the ground the better.
Most birds are sloppy eaters. They take seeds and drop them, or peck at them, dropping them in the process; or like Blue Jays who just toss them all over for fun!
I'm so happy to make the seed available for the birds. We love to watch them. I used to do the Feeder Watch for Cornell University. I am now doing it for "e-Bird". It's simple! Just visit their e-Bird website.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


When my mother died, close to 15 years ago, I was the fortunate recipient of her Christmas Cactus.
But, it bloomed many times, and the blooms were different. It took me a few years to realize that she had planted all three kinds of Cactus (Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter) in the same pot!!! To this day, I still enjoy that plant. I have repotted it at least once and it LOVED the space and showed me by becoming very large and quite beautiful.
At any rate when I found an article about these different cactus plants, I thought I'd share it with you. I got it from Suzanne DeJohn, She has a gardening blog that you will find by clicking on her name.
I hope you enjoy the article, I know I did!

"Christmas Cactus
Another tropical plant that has come to symbolize the holidays is the Christmas cactus. Native to South America, the plant is a tropical rainforest epiphyte, growing high in the tree branches. Despite abundant rainfall, water up there drains quickly so the plant is adapted to short periods of drought.

Every wonder why your "Christmas" cactus blooms too early? It's possible that it's a Thanksgiving cactus. Although similar in appearance, they are different plants. Both Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera russelliana, aka S. bridgesii) and Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) respond to the shortening days of autumn by setting flower buds -- Thanksgiving cactus just responds about a month sooner. To tell them apart, examine the leaf pads. Leaf segments of Christmas cactus are gently lobed; those of Thanksgiving cactus have spikes on the sides of the stem segments.

If your cactus blooms too late, it might be an Easter cactus (Hatiora gaertneri, formerly called Schlumbergera gaertneri and Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri). Look closely at the tops of the leaf segments. If there are small bristles, you have an Easter cactus."



Start looking for those wonderful gardening catalogues!

Start a gardening journal. You can use a notebook, a calendar or even a real gardening journal you buy at the book store!

This is a good time to check old seeds for viability

Your indoor plants get pretty dry at this time of year. Try misting them. (Don't mist African Violets, however!) All plants should be watered sparingly during the winter. Standing them in a tray of wet gravel is a wonderful treat for any indoor plants in the winter.

Turn indoor plants every week or so in order to keep their growth even.

Check those indoor plants for insects and give them a soapy bath if you find any!

Remove any heavy snow from evergreens. Be careful! If it is icy, wait until it melts.

Try stamping a circle around the trunks of fruit trees that might be vulnerable to rodent damage.

Put your Christmas tree outside to provide shelter for the birds.
You can also smear the branches with peanut butter mixed with corn meal.
The birds will love it!

Another use for that tree would be to cut some boughs off and lay them on top of your flower beds to add extra protection.

Keep those bird feeders full.

Maybe this is the time to start a Garden Journal?