The Great Garden Rescue
Cold Climate Gardening Blog
by Kathy Purdy
5M ago
Moving Plants Out of Harm’s Way Before Construction Starts A year ago last March, I learned that renovations were planned for our home. The kitchen was going to be bumped out onto the deck, so that it was even with the screened porch. The screened porch was going to be upgraded to a three-season room. And the deck surrounding it all was going to be pushed out into the garden beds I referred to as the Deck Alcove Bed and Deck West Bed. And when was this going to happen? June. June! I thought about all the plants in that garden–and I also thought about how construction projects never start when ..read more
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January Thaw Walk-About
Cold Climate Gardening Blog
by Kathy Purdy
11M ago
The weather’s been crazy, to put it mildly. I know most of the country has endured similar: a thaw the week before Christmas, a sudden drop to unseasonably frigid temperatures, and (once everyone’s holiday plans were screwed up) a return to unseasonably warm temperatures. I was thankful that we didn’t lose our snow cover during the first thaw, so that the plants did have some protection when the temperature dropped to -2°F at night. But with this second, post-Christmas thaw the snow is mostly gone. Monday it almost reached 50°F and it wasn’t raining, so I decided to walk around the garden and ..read more
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Mud Season Pruning Chores
Cold Climate Gardening Blog
by Kathy Purdy
1y ago
Pruning is the only gardening chore you can do in mud season, because your plants (and the weeds!) are still frozen in the ground. It’s a great excuse to get outside and do something–actual gardening! The weather is very unsettled during mud season, so it’s best to be strategic about what gets pruned when. Your design goals will also factor into prioritizing jobs. For example, the very first pruning I did this mud season focused on spring flowering shrubs whose branches I wanted to bring inside: February daphne, forsythia, and flowering quince (Chaenomeles). This was easy to do on a mild day ..read more
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A Drone’s-Eye View Of My Garden
Cold Climate Gardening Blog
by Kathy Purdy
1y ago
My son has a drone camera and captured these images of our home and landscape in January. It’s always nice to get a different view of the garden. I’ve numbered various features of note and linked to blog posts where I discuss them in more detail. Sometimes the entire post is about that feature, and sometimes you have to read through the post to find where I discuss it. If, like me, you are waiting for the snow to melt, here’s a way to pass some time. Hope you enjoy it! Note: click on the image to get a larger image. This is the most zoomed-out viewThis is slightly closer and rotated 90 degree ..read more
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This Garden Art Is For The Birds, And It Needs Your Help
Cold Climate Gardening Blog
by Kathy Purdy
1y ago
I first saw these architectural birdhouses several years ago, in the grocery store, of all places. I resisted them until they went on sale, and then I couldn’t resist at all. It’s the details in these birdhouses that make them so appealing. Since I’m not usually a collector, it surprised me how many of these birdhouses came home with me. While I found most of them at the grocery store, I also found them in the home decor section of a few other stores. I have seen them sold online for much more than I paid. I suspect the ones I have are seconds, but they looked fine to me when I purchased them ..read more
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This Garden Art Is For The Birds, And It Needs Your Help
Cold Climate Gardening Blog
by Kathy Purdy
1y ago
I first saw these architectural birdhouses several years ago, in the grocery store, of all places. I resisted them until they went on sale, and then I couldn’t resist at all. It’s the details in these birdhouses that make them so appealing. Since I’m not usually a collector, it surprised me how many of these birdhouses came home with me. While I found most of them at the grocery store, I also found them in the home decor section of a few other stores. I have seen them sold online for much more than I paid. I suspect the ones I have are seconds, but they looked fine to me when I purchased them ..read more
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Binge-watching Gardeners’ World: A guide for U.S.-based cold-climate gardeners
Cold Climate Gardening Blog
by Kathy Purdy
2y ago
The holidays are over. Seeds have been ordered (or not–I decided to take a break from seed sowing). The temperature is dropping (-5°F tonight) and the wind is blowing (wind chill advisory in effect). Time to binge-watch some gardening shows. I’ve been watching BBC 2’s Gardeners’ World for several years now, and I’ve got some tips for you to get the most out of it. Gardener’s World is an hour-long British gardening television show, currently moderated by Monty Don but also featuring other presenters. It usually opens with the camera approaching Monty Don as he’s working on a gardening task. He ..read more
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Have you considered a broadfork?
Cold Climate Gardening Blog
by Kathy Purdy
2y ago
I decided on a broadfork in a roundabout way. I was rooting pink pussy willow cuttings and wanted to give them a cushy home for a few years before planting them in their wilder, permantent location. I had surplus colchicum corms that I knew I could find a good home for–but maybe not right away. What I needed was a nursery bed. Can these garden beds be saved? What I had was an overgrown section of an abandoned vegetable garden. Oh, those weeds! Goldenrod and dock, some taller than me! Weeds so intimidating I put off clearing a space for my baby pussy willows. There were plenty of other items o ..read more
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Forcing Branches
Cold Climate Gardening Blog
by Kathy Purdy
2y ago
Forcing branches of flowering shrubs and trees is a skill I try to get better at every year–it’s another way to hurry spring up. Compared to last year, this winter has been more consistently snowy and cold. It hasn’t been severely cold, but we haven’t had the intermittent thaws that we had last year. But for the last week, the temperatures have moderated. Almost every day has managed to get above freezing, which makes me think it’s time to start forcing branches. How do you force branches? The basic concept is simple: cut branches of flowering shrubs and trees, bring them into the house, and ..read more
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My New Fave Winter Bloomer
Cold Climate Gardening Blog
by Kathy Purdy
3y ago
The purpose of houseplants (in winter) is to ameliorate the effects of cabin fever. The best houseplants for this purpose grow fast enough that you can see changes from day to day, and they also bloom–strengthening the illusion that actual gardening is taking place. Flowering bulbs are well-suited to the task–the tender ones that tolerate our artificially heated homes and the hardy ones that can be tricked into blooming early. This winter I grew Madeiran Squill (Scilla madeirensis) for the first time. The bulbs arrived November 9th, but I didn’t pot them up until December 14th. I waited over ..read more
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