Both posts are on “twisted logic,” the weird reality that a lot of gardening advice that’s so wrong actually sounds so right.
Go here to read both posts. If you’re short on time, just read to the second post, which talks about how much landscape fabric sucks and the folly of wrapping evergreens for winter. Honestly, if you’re going to mummify evergreens every winter, wouldn’t it be wiser to just go with some nice shrubs?
And while we’re on the topic of evergreens, what could possibly be the point of the burlap-wrapping strategy in the picture above? I’m so mystified, I just started a new blog category called “What In Tarnation?” My much-missed grandma Daisy used to say that when she thought something was “pert near crazy” and I figure I’ll carry on her tradition.
Did you know that window frost is also known as fern frost? I’d never heard that until I decided to do a little research to find out how it’s possible that frost creeping across the poorly insulated windows of my house creates such intricately beautiful and leaf-like patterns.
As you probably know, frost appears on windows when it’s below freezing outside but fairly moist inside—which is why our single-pane bathroom window puts on a particularly good show.Read More»
Timber Press, publisher of my new gardening book with Jeff Gillman, “Decoding Gardening Advice: the Science Behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations,” asked me to write a few blog posts for them this month as part of a special promotion for the book.
Here’s a link to my latest post, which includes a before/after photo of my front yard. It makes my back hurt just to look at that picture!
Not surprisingly given the book’s title, I wrote about gardening rules and how a lot of them don’t matter as much as people say they do. And then, well, some advice is best taken. I learned that the hard way and I imagine I’m not done learning that lesson. I hope you’ll check my post out here.
It’s been a warm winter by Minnesota standards, meaning it took until just this week to dip down into the single digits and, finally, below zero. As it usually does, those Arctic temps sent me straight to a couple of local garden centers where I could walk around indoors and be around plants and smell dirt. You don’t realize how much you miss the smell of dirt until you live in a place where it’s so cold there are no smells for months and months—okay, sure, the dog poo that I have to pick up still smells. And there is a nice smoke smell coming from neighbors’ chimneys sometimes. But that’s about it.
I hadn’t planned on buying anything. I really just wanted to be warm, see some green stuff and talk to the parrot, Baby, at one of my favorite gardening haunts. But two big tables of little, teeny succulents caught my eye at one place where I stopped. So I picked out a few, along with a bright yellow pot and a bag of soil specifically for cacti and succulents, and brought everything home to plant.
I don’t have an indoor planting spot at the moment since the basement’s a big mess, so I just worked on the island in our kitchen, which is probably kind of gross. But we have a dog and three cats living with us. It’s not that clean here anyway.
Once I was done planting, my husband Mike worked the same kind of magic he does in our yard by adding small pieces of driftwood and some rocks. The result looks kind of like a terrarium without a top. Situated on a little table, when the sun hits it just right, our little pot of succulents feels like a tropical oasis offering us relief from the bitter, white cold.
Of all the seed and plant catalogs that pile up on my desk this time each year, Klehm’s Song Sparrow is my favorite with Baker Creek coming in a close second. The gorgeous, color photography is what hooks me in both cases.
Though I admit that the fact that I can get actual plants rather than just seeds makes Klehm’s close to my heart, too. Some years, I just don’t feel like firing up the seed-starting setup in the basement. I want that spring miracle of small boxes showing up at the door filled with seedlings smelling of wet peat and dirt.
When I was just starting out as a gardener, I didn’t think much about the difference between catalogs. While most have actual photos and detailed plant information, others use illustrations at least some of the time. Catalogs in the latter group are not always to be tossed in the recycling bin straight away, but I learned after some painful planting mishaps that some were not to be trusted.Read More»