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Jan. 28 - Filled the bird feeders and shoveled snow. Lots and lots of snow.
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Posts Tagged ‘winter garden’

Cleaning Up The Mess Winter Left

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Early spring before cleanup

Even though I love the spring time when the temperatures rise and the inversion lifts and we have unlimited sunshine, I can’t help but dwell on the massive amount of work ahead of me as I began to remove the winter kill as well as the unwanted growth from the flower beds.

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Early Spring before cleanup

I suppose it is because our growing season is so short, things really start growing very fast once they’ve come up. This applies to perennials and weeds alike. But even more than that are the many plants that come up in the wrong place. Take Hollyhocks, for instance. I love them, they are majestic and beautiful and can add so much to a garden with their height and colors, but unfortunately, if not cut back before they throw their seeds, they will re-seed all over the garden.
This applies to many plants, including Feverfew, Foxglove, Purple Cone Flower, Cosmos, Snapdragons and quite a few others.

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Hollyhocks and Feverfew coming up under the Aprium tree.

These pictures show how awful a garden can look in the early spring. There is the dead growth from last fall, the weeds that have wintered over and are thriving and then there is the good plants in the wrong places.

This is an unusual spring in that I am bringing help in to clean up the mess and get the garden off to a “clean” start. I’m so excited. What usually takes me all spring to accomplish (and sometimes half the summer) will all be accomplished in one day. I hope my expectations aren’t too high because I really have a vision of what the garden will look like at the end of day.

I’ll post before and after pictures to show the amazing differences.

More Snow

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Snow still covering everything with more coming down.

It’s snowing again today and should continue for another day.

One of the best things about snow here in the desert is the moisture it provides to the plants in the early spring as it melts, giving them a nice jump start. We get so much more moisture (in the form of snow) in the winter than in the hot summer months. We fight the dry heat, which can really take a toll on plants.

We’ll soon be leaving on our winter vacation to warmer climates. We leave with lots of snow on the ground and hopefully when we return, it will be to the very beginning of spring. Even then we can certainly get more snow, but it probably wouldn’t stay on the ground for very long.

Ahh Spring and Summer. How I miss you.

A Winter To Remember

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View of Aprium tree from kitchen window Jan. 28, 2013


It’s been a cold (single digits) and snowy (3 storms in a row) and icy (worst ice storm ever). Today the snow started again and is supposed to continue Monday and Tuesday. It’s been snowing all afternoon and it’s beautiful.

One good thing about very cold temperatures is that many pests are killed off. At least that is what I’m counting on.

This cold winter won’t last forever and when it finally is over, I’m  hoping for a beautiful spring full of Tulips, Irises,  Columbine, Peonies, Forget-Me-Nots, Foxglove and Delphiniums.

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Deck and Grape Arbor in snow

Kumquats and Other Plants Wintering Over

We’ve just returned from Arizona where the lemons, oranges and grapefruit are hanging heavy on the trees and it’s the middle of January.

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Kumquats wintering over inside

Here in Zone 6 it’s possible to grow citrus but they have to be in large containers so they can be brought inside to protect them from the bitter cold of our winters.We grow Kumquats and Mandarin oranges in large pots and when it’s nice and warm again they will go back out into the bright sunshine.

They do well inside if there is plenty of sunshine to keep them healthy and thriving.

This spring they will be transplanted into much larger pots so next winter it will be a challenge to bring them inside. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Winter and the Plants Are Happy

If it has to get bitterly cold, the best thing for the plants here in Zone 6 is to have a nice thick, insulating layer of snow down. Then if and when it warms a little and begins to melt some of the snow, moisture seeps down to the roots to keep the plants from dehydrating too much, which makes them more susceptible to the bitter cold.

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18" of snow protecting the perennials










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snow on perennials snow also protecting potted plants










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snow on potted plant

Winter In The Garden – What’s Going On?

The quick answer to that is…not much. Or so it seems.

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Peach trees, roses, raised bed and snow

Many plants, especially fruit trees and some perennials, need these cold temperatures. They have a cycle they must go through, that’s why refrigerating bulbs can force them to bloom early. Some fruits trees need a minimum of 1,000 hours of freezing temperatures to bear fruit. So a lot is going on with the plants, just not in the leafy, green, growing sort of way.

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Peach trees, corn, roses and feverfew, lemon balm






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Queen Elizabeth roses in summer



The rose bushes look so pitiful and almost dead. They will be pruned back just as the buds begin to swell in early spring.

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Queen Elizabeth rose bushes in winter





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Raspberry, rhubard bed in winter

The raspberry bed looks so empty without all that lush foliage. They will be back bigger, thicker and better than last year. The rhubarb plants that share that bed seem to have

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Raspberries and rhubarb in July,

disappeared, but they will also be back, bigger than before.





The raised vegetable bed is empty, the corn, green beans and squash long gone. Next year we will add more compost to rejuvenate the soil for the next vegetables to grow there.

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Asparagus Bed mid July, 2011




The asparagus has gone to sleep, with the plants all collapsed down with a covering of snow to insulate them. They will be some of the first to make their appearance next spring. Can’t wait.

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Asparagus bed in winter (What looks like boulders is plants collapsed down)






So much to look forward to in the spring. The dormant time in the garden is a really good time to learn about some of the things that need to be done when spring finally gets here…like pruning fruit trees and rose bushes, dividing and transplanting perennials that have outgrown their space, starting and maintaining a compost pile, deciding on what vegetables to grow this year…..and on and on.

That’s why gardening is so interesting and so much fun. There is always more to learn, always something to do and always so much to enjoy in a garden.

Vacation At Last

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Las Vegas Vacation on the horizon

Well, I can’t garden so I might as well head south and enjoy some warm sunny weather. Right?

We’ve been out in the snowy and freezing weather today and that will make us appreciate the warmer climate even more.

I’ll be taking, and sharing, pictures of any gardens I can find. Since we are headed for Las Vegas I’m not sure how many will be at their peak. There is a gorgeous, gigantic atrium at one of the casinos though, and I will be taking pictures in there.

Ah… the sunshine, pool and the hot tub are calling my name. Besides, I’ll enjoy the snow so much more after having been away from it for a week.


Garden Under Snow

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Snow in the garden - That's rhubarb and raspberries on the right.

We got a little snow today with more on the way tonight. Believe it or not, it is actually good for the garden because the snow is a good insulator and as it melts it keeps the soil moist. It’s not going to get deep and stay here, that will come later, but for now, it sure is good to see the snow. I love it.


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Raspberries and rhubarb in July, now under snow

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