anything new to get through winter?

mrtulinDecember 22, 2010

I'm going to take a couple of flower arranging workshops. Cass the Florist, who exhibited...and often won a the NE Flower Show, offers winter workshops days and evenings for the very reasonable price of $40, which includes materials. Her store/studio is in Watertown MA, about 20 minutes from me.

I'm going to take three intro classes: designing in water (I assume that means a vase with water), designing using floral foam; and basic design.


I also bought a few houseplants. Nothing exotic, just some fancy leaved begonias. I hope that paying attention to something when I get home from work will keep me away from the TV. I do not find cooking dinner or cleaning the kind of distraction I enjoy.

Anyone one else trying new activities this winter?


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I'm attempting to keep my hot pepper plants and my rosemary plant alive in the house this winter. It's a bit of a "struggle" right now since my ideal plant window is housing the christmas tree right now.

As soon as my daughters Nutcracker flowers die, I'm going to plant my new amaryllis bulbs for additional color in the house.

But to be perfectly honest, I'm enjoying my current decluttering project. I've been totally purging books, cd's, dvd's. I've gone thru all the closets and most of the kitchen cabinets. We've been in our house for 3.5 years now. Anything we haven't used since we've moved in, I'm getting rid of. Next up is the office and guest room. And then the big one - the basement! Hopefully I'll have it all done by March - so I can start in my gardens again!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 4:55PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

oooooh pixie, there's nothing so satisfying as purging. good for YOU! i'm working on it as well. but we've been here 23 years!!yikes is right!!!

but seriously, remember that there's always a someone who would appreciate what you no longer want or use. due diligence will find you receptive shelters, free stuff, craigs list, soup kitchens, clothes drives, warehouses of things for homeless moving to housing, etc.

(sorry about going OT.)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 5:47PM
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Mindy - We have Pay-As-You-Throw in our town - every trash bag costs me $2. So I am making good use of Craigslist, Freecycle, the local food pantry, Toys-for-Tots, etc.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 6:38PM
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cloud_9(z5 CT)

OK Marie, here is proof of just how obnoxious I can be - the days don't get longer until tomorrow. :) I am going to take up knitting again. I have a new niece and I want to make cute little GIRL sweaters.

pixie lou - I had never heard of Pay-As-You-Throw. What a wonderful and enlightened idea. BTW - make sure to never ever let your rosemary get too dry or it will instantly die on you. If you take some cutting and keep them rooting in covered containers you will have a bit of insurance as well as more plants come spring.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 7:43PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

I'm doing several garden related woodworking projects in my basement. I want to build a bat house, two or three birdhouses, two or three more raised beds and a cold frame for my vegetable garden. I'm also going to try growing onions from seed this year so I'll be starting those in late January or early February.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 8:35AM
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streaming netflix thru Wii.

I got my friends a 3-mo gift subscription to Netflix DVDs. (since Blockbuster stores closed, they are missing movies. They are very anti-internet too for credit cards and such.) So I am signing up on behalf of them. I think I can simultaneously stream movies through my Wii at no additional charge while they get DVDs delivered.

Oh, gardening related? umm... maybe finally start that plant database inventory for the umpteenth time... I want to install and learn MySQL.

back to cookie baking for now...

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 1:58PM
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speaking of begonias, this one came in from outside for the summer and is doing great inside. I had never tried that before, but surely will again.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 2:05PM
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Gardening-wise, my only winter activities (once I've done winter greens for the half-barrels) are looking at nursery catalogs (paper and on-line) to create wish-lists, and caring for house plants or potted plants I've brought inside (coleus, tender succulents.) I do read several blogs as well, mostly ones with lots of pictures with an eye to informing my sense of design. My current favorites are Paradis Express ( done by a French gardener who does graphic design professionally, so not exclusively garden related, but she often has items from wonderful garden blogs; Garden Porn ( written by a former GWer who is a professional garden designer in CA; Dirt Simple ( written by a Detroit garden designer. All have great photos.

I know that I need to get outside to exercise and to get enough light, so I ice skate if it's clear and snowless like it is now, and snowshoe or XC ski if there's enough snow. I may even re-try downhill skiing again this year for the first time in ages.

Winter (along with too hot, too sticky summer weather) is also when I do wood-turning since in good gardening weather the gardening always wins . . . I've also been looking at hand-printing fabric, just for fun.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 9:25AM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

How industrious everyone seems! All I'm doing is keeping the feeders filled for the ravening hordes of sparrows, making sure I park my car facing out so I can drive away forward when the plow trucks are finished, and stirring a big pot of beef stew (that IS garden-related, because I use our own garlic). Here in the city the snow forecasters are talking 12" plus during Sunday night Dec. 26.


    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 12:59PM
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tree oracle, I hope you will post your woodworking progress. My low tunnel for the vegetable garden didn't get built and neither did my cold frame. Would also like some bird houses. We have a bluebird family but I have no idea where they are nesting. They sure liked the cotoneaster berries this fall. Our decrepit barn already houses bats but no where near the number that used to be around before the white face disease.

I'm trying rosemary in the north window of a semi heated garage. I did ok with another rosemary for 2 winters, again in a north window but in a tiny bathroom for the humidity. I have successfully wintered over lemon verbena and a couple of scented geraniums. Know rosemary is a different plant entirely ... maybe I should "rescue" it while it's still alive but I like trying something different.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 8:15AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I find it is imperative to do gardening related things over the winter, to help these cold dreary months pass by. This year I'm having early gardening withdrawal - the symptoms?

- Been to the library 3 times in the past few weeks (after not having been there for 6-7 years or so) to take out 6 gardening books

- Am forcing Paperwhites this year for the first time! They just started blooming. It really helps to have flowers blooming.

- My 2 mature Thanksgiving Cacti bloomed beautifully this year (Lt pink & hot pink), and bought a new small one (red with magenta highlights - gorgeous!) Am also rooting some cuttings of these for the first time.

- Have 2 new Amaryllis potted, they are just starting to emerge. Also repotted a couple houseplants already.

- In addition to collecting and cleaning some seeds, I've had the seed drawer out of the refrigerator, organizing and labeling seeds, and getting a few ready for winter-sowing. Will no doubt order new seeds, maybe do a few seed trades, and a seed offer (free seeds for postage) on the Seed Exchange to share some of the extras.

- Have spent a good deal of time organizing my pictures, which are mostly related to gardening. Read Gardenweb and many other plant-related websites compulsively! But these are year round symptoms.

Okay, okay, I know I have a problem. :)

Some pics of the Schlumbergera truncata, Thanksgiving cactus. This one was in full bloom during Thanksgiving.

This is my new one!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 11:00AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

terrene - those are the prettiest Christmas cacti I've ever seen. Beautiful colors and so healthy!

In addition to forcing tulips, and keeping 5 yr. old geraniums going, and cat grass on top of the refrigerator (germinated in 3 days and put the heat to good use) below is a red hyacinth bulb with two day old roots in water.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 5:41PM
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I registered for the two flower arranging workshops.
I'm learning about making a potting medium for indoor plants and outdoor container plants. The soil is not peat /soil/compost based, but a combo of 'gritty' ingredients.
A nursery near me does free repotting in spring and I got two orchids repotted
I repotted about 6 houseplants in a better soil mixture.
I secured a job interview.

Trust me, the last is less interesting than the ones before.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 6:00PM
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I had planned on signing up for the Nutrient Dense Crop Production course that someone on this site had posted about. Lo and behold, when I went to register last week, the local class was full. I guess I'll have to register early next year.

Now that it is January, I'm starting to think about my garden in the spring - trying to decide what to plant and where, as well as decide if I want to do a Community Garden plot again this year.

My most urgent goal right now is to get the x-mas tree out of the house. We put it up Thanksgiving weekend. I'm beginning to think it is a fire hazard.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 6:23PM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

I've arranged for about 16 inches of white insulation to be laid on top of my perennials bed tonight. :)


    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 12:49PM
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Today, I went to "Winter Fare" in Northampton MA. It was a combination of farmer's market, classes and a soup cafe. Very fun. Since I was out that way, I visited the greenhouses at Smith College for the first time too. They had both cool and warm greenhouses, everything was well labeled.

There's another winter fare in Greenfield on Feb. 5. Also a class on growing through the winter in a hoop house on Jan 22 at Laughing Dog Farm in Gill. I'm waiting to hear the dates of the Western Mass Master Gardeners Symposia. I've gone to these for several years, and they are highly informative.

I will be starting seeds in my unheated greenhouse in a few weeks as an experiment. I will probably bring the flats inside on really cold nights.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 7:54PM
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Repotted lots of plants in new soil mix.
Wondering if my amaryllis that has two stalks of flowers in bloom (at least 8 flowers) is pushing up a third stalk.
Didn't get the job.
Looking forward to the first floral design workshop on mon nite
Visited Tower Hill...what a wonderful place. The conservatories are filled with huge orange trees dripping with fruit.The person I went with is a very good indoor gardener and pointed out most of said trees have bugs. It was true.
There's still two more months of winter. Gotta find more to do.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 2:06AM
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You mean staring out the window at all of the accumulated snow and plow trucks going by with 2 foot long drool strings hanging from your lower lip isn't an activity? Sheez. Who knew? I'll have to get busy.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 10:53AM
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I have just started getting my pesticide applicators license. some how the 2 peach trees I planted in 2002 have turned into a 300 fruit tree orchard. first thing is maybe this apple,then it will need pollen, then maybe 2 just in case,oh it is a tripoloid so 2 more ect. then comes pest management hanging soap bars and footies on the fruit no longer an option. Last year when the 1st and 2nd graders came to pick apples and make cider with an old hand crank mill it was hard to get blemish free fruit. Some of you are ok with cut that part off as I am but not little kids.1st grade teachers don't seem to understand that a 1/2 worm in an apple is better for you than captian. I just have to reduce the 1/2 numbers of worms not a real orchard yet.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 1:19PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Idabean, what did you end up using for your new potting mix? Where did you get the ingredients? Sorry to hear you didn't get the job.

Raven, your orchard sounds impressive. Too bad that the children, as with many people, don't understand that a little blemish here and there is better than pesticides. But it is hard to grow organic fruit in New England anyway. One of the very dedicated organic farms in town even uses a small amount of pesticides early in the season.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 12:24PM
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I started tapping maple trees and making syrup 5 years ago. It's great fun, but if you don't have a wood stove to boil on, forget it. You'd be better off burning money than making syrup on your kitchen stove. The equipment to tap 5 trees costs about $50, you can make your money back the first year. Prior to heated greenhouses, "sugaring" was traditional the start of the agricultural year.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 5:25PM
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I just got the Middlesex Conservation District brochure for their Spring Shrub and Perennial Sale. And ordered a bunch of plants.

I would also like to report on my very successful decluttering project. I've made over $3K selling some crap/junk/stuff on eBay! I think I may be southbound real soon!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 8:44PM
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I planted an amarylis bulb right after Christmas time. It has just bloomed this week. 1 stalk has 5 buds on it - 3 are open right now. And I have another stalk coming up - not sure how many blossoms will be on the 2nd stalk. Not bad for a grocery store bulb!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 2:22PM
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We've had a few days that were warm enough to be outside, so I've been doing a little "late fall clean-up" - I left some deep leaf piles last November when I went off on a trip, and just got them picked up and into the compost pile. I've spent a few afternoons removing spent blooms on hydrangeas, and started cutting back nepeta.

Yesterday my compost spinner was thawed enough that I could empty it into the holding bin, so now I've got room for more "fresh" kitchen scraps in the spinner. I'm hoping that the material I moved along won't be too attractive to rodents, being somewhat decomposed, but it's in a pretty secure, solid bin, anyway.

It's just about time to start cleaning up the hellebores - the foliage tends to get ratty in March, just before the flowers peak. Hope we have some more nice days coming soon!

Our local Mahoneys has been having a winter market, with local produce etc., on Saturdays. Of course it's also a good chance to pick up small indoor plants and pots (if only they had the kind of terra cotta pots I like). Usually at this time of year, Mahoneys is like a morgue, but because of the winter market it's pretty lively and pretty well stocked this year. More temptation!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 9:42PM
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