February 8, 2012

Gardening in Winter

It's still winter, and living plants are dormant, so I am gardening with hardscape materials now --- structures, ceramics, leather, wood, and metal, and my imagination.  What's in my winter garden?

I'm glad you asked.
A cedar structure to be
Jim says he can build me a scaled down version of this tool closet to sit on the patio near my potting bench.  Plans are on This Old House web site.  Mine needs to be smaller, only one door wide and under six feet tall. He says he can do that.

A cement and resin ceramic urn
 I bought this lightweight Umbrian pot for a new container garden in the front walk.  It will add some bulk nestled among low perennials, along with two similarly hued strawberry jars.

An arched wooden footbridge
 I bought a 4' cedar bridge similar to this to span my dry creek bed. (This one is in Lee May's garden and when I saw it I knew I needed one just like it.)

A leather chair in a sunny south facing window on a winter afternoon
This is where the garden dreaming and planning happen.  Some napping too.

An aluminum tabletop grow light for my seeds
 I ordered this small version from Gardener's Supply.  I don't start many seeds, but I do need to get a few early perennial seeds going.  Some assembly was required (mmmph).

Several wire tomato cages covered in bird netting
 When I plant the sunflower seedlings out in the meadow, these will protect them from chomping animals, at least at first.  It was a job to cover the cages in netting, but it kept me busy one winter afternoon.

I also have two steel tuteurs to assemble.  I plan to grow climbing nasturtium 'Moonlight' up them this summer. They are tall and round but came in cartons that are flat as pizza boxes.

I'll get them built now, before it's time to plant, and that will occupy another winter's day.  I do believe there is assembly required.

I have a lot to do.  The winter garden is a busy place.

40 comments:

  1. That cedar structure reminds me I have to deal with tool storage in my new little Brooklyn garden. I've known this all along, but entertained only the vaguest ideas of how to do it.

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    1. This Old House has tool storage plans and they are pretty clear. I'm enjoying the first views of the bones of your Brooklyn garden. Such a small space, and so enclosed. Can't wait to see it take shape with the plants, especially the honey locusts. They have been on my list for a while.

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  2. Of course Jim can build this structure. It will be a helpful addition to your garden. Your spot there overlooking the garden is perfect for winter dreams. I bet you have to throw the cat out of the chair when the sun is out. Happy dreaming.

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    1. Lisa, I had to laugh, you are so right about territory disputes with the cats. I have to scurry to get to that hot sunlit leather chair seat before they do!

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  3. Got to love the sun in the wintertime. That chair looks like the perfect place on a cold afternoon.

    The cedar shed will be a great addition.

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    1. Sweetbay, I pretty much live in that chair in the winter. The rest of my house is too hard to keep warm, just not comfortable, but that one window is perfect.

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  4. Thanks for the reminder. Spring is just around the corner and it is well time to get moving and planning!

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    1. Forest Keeper, winter is your time for trees! So much to do, I would think. Get out there and get working :-)

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  5. I'm glad to read someone is getting prepared for spring. I, on the other hand, am supposed to be planning out some serious earth moving projects for my front yard. Have I started? Have I even printed out some pictures for doodling with trace paper? Nope. Just laying on my couch and pondering the mountain of snow in my front yard (in between reading garden blogs) seems to be the order of the day.

    Christine B. in Alaska, no shed, no urn, no grow lights

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    1. Christine, Even in Alaska, spring will return, and when it does, you will rejoice. Or panic.

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  6. What sweetbay said. That spot in the sun, with the cat and the chair . . . perfect.

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    1. Heather, if I can beat the cat to the sunny chair, I am ahead for the day.

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  7. I love that container. Light weight makes it even more appealing. Looks like a stone one. The footbridge is so nice and looks wonderful on your dry creek bed. Have a wonderful week.

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    1. Lona, the container is a beauty, but it is actually way bigger than the photo shows. I wanted mass, and what I got is a big damn pot. But I like it. Needs perennials around it to soften the look in my garden, though.

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  8. Ha! I *thought* that footbridge looked familiar. Glad you like it, Laurrie. As I like your other ideas. Those tomato cages in my wannabe meadow could work for me.

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    1. Lee, your garden was an inspiration to me in many ways. I don't think I can pull off a Big Momma garden, but I liked elements of yours that I am going to continue to steal (copy).

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  9. Hi,

    I'm a fellow CT gardener -- been reading and lurking for a while. I seem to navigate to garden blogs which share my climate conditions. I really enjoy your musings and trials as well as your successes. We laugh about a firepit, so I was tickled to see you guys crack yours out. It is a strange winter with no snow. We got all our shoveling in in October -- hah!
    I love that big pot -- Did you get it locally? Do you divulge your sources?
    lucia

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    1. Welcome Lucia, Anonymous CT Gardner. I got the big resin/cement pot at Pottery Barn online, but when it came today, it is not at all like the picture I posted here. Different shape, more squat, different rim, and way bigger than I anticipated. But I like it. I'll have to post an update to show how it looks in the garden now that I have it. Kinda too big, maybe.

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  10. LOVE the urn! I've been buying new pots, too. I'm buying the same seed starting kit. I'm hoping it will improve my rotten track record of starting seeds.

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    1. Tammy, I had rotten luck too with seeds started on my windowsill last spring, they got so leggy and keeled over. The lights should make a real difference.

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  11. I love the urn, but the chair looks way too comfy. I would never get anything done. No, that's not true. Dreaming and planning are important parts of gardening, and I am sure you must get a lot of that done!

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    1. Deborah, whole afternoons slide by in that chair when it is sunny but cold, and I can't even say much productive planning gets done then!

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  12. Oh lucky you to have a builder on call! Keeping the garage and garden things separate is a wonderful thing. I wonder which perennials you're starting under those lights...

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    1. Cyndy, I'm starting just a few seeds, more annuals than perennials actually.

      Some tender perennials like Lady in Red and Black & Blue salvias, some annual lobelia, a Baby Duck petunia that I like, and I want to get the zinnias going early so they are up in the garden sooner. I'll start the sunflowers inside too, to get a head start.

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  13. I always get a little worried when I buy something that says "some assembly required":) I love that tool shed! I need one of these--two doors and at least six feet tall for me. Maybe then I could finally fit my car into the garage:)

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    1. Rose, our garage is Garden Central too. My new little tool closet will only hold a few items, but they are the ones I need close to the potting bench. What I really need is a big barn!

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  14. Laurrie, the tomato cages wrapped in netting is a brilliant idea I'm going to steal and ... love the urn.

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    1. Joene, I hope you find a better way to drape and fasten the bird netting to the tomato cages when you make yours. I had a heck of a time getting them to fit around the cone shape -- the netting is so flimsy to work with.

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  15. Laurrie, I love that the comfy chair in the sunny window is part of your winter garden. I must remember that next winter here!

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    1. Lyn, I do think the chair in the sunny window is one of the best features of my winter garden!

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  16. That little bridge is just wonderful. What a great addition! I also love your new pot. That spot beside the sunny window looks perfect for some spring dreaming!

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    1. Thanks, Bernie, the bridge and the pot are the two biggest additions to the garden this year. Simple items, but I've wanted both for a while.

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  17. I catnap now and then, but I think while I nap, so it's not a waste of time.
    Martha Stewart

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    1. Gail, I have always considered napping a productive use of time. I get a lot done napping.

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  18. Seriously, this time Jim HAS TO come to Kentucky - I must have one of these and I have no height or visual limitations and you just know Philip and I will build it upside down and backwards.

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    1. Becky, Jim will build it right side up and frontwards for you, to last a century --- sturdy, immovable, and even he will admit over-engineered.

      I can see the wheels turning in his mind as he studies the plans and contemplates where he can buy steel girders.

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  19. Cool chair Laurrie. I like how it serves so many purposes. It is a great spot to stay warm on a cold winter's eve too, I bet. Your cages look like they are a nice addition to the garden, both in function, and in looks.

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    1. Donna, thanks. The cages should disappear in the tall weeds when the meadow fills in, then the sunflowers will eventually overtop the weeds and bloom above them. That's the plan!

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  20. How did the covered tomato cages work out? I am desperately looking for something to cover my strawberries and protect them from the birds!

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    1. They worked okay, but the narrowness was a problem as the plants grew bigger and wider. They were too confined in the towers so the cages were removed before the plants got very big. Strawberries are low growers that want to run and spread out, so you'll need something differently shaped. Good luck!

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