Another winter milestone

Punxatawney Phil didn’t see his shadow the other day and we all know that means spring is right around the corner. (Wahoo!) Gail and I are definitely feeling winter suddenly pick up speed and are switching gears and counting the milestones.

Now that we’ve sent in the seed orders we can turn our divided attention back to the plants. (Our attention is always divided, or so it feels. Right now we’re being pulled away to meetings, seminars, trade shows, etc – all good stuff! – but what we wouldn’t give for a week of blank days…) I already mentioned in the last post that the plants in the greenhouse are starting to put on new growth – and you know me with the new growth – I’m captivated by it. For some plants – our tender perennials in particular, new growth showing means it’s high time to cut the plants back. There are a couple of reasons we do this: one is, if we didn’t the plants would be leggy and weird next season. Cutting them back also encourages a big push of new growth, which we use for cuttings and we’ll start those around the end of this month.  (We’re old school in the way we make new plants too – no tissue culture for us. I suspect in this case, most gardeners continue to do as we do too.) We’re still enjoying the flowers and seed heads on some but when it’s time, it’s time. They’ll be blooming stupendously again before we know it.

Are you wintering over any tender perennials? Which ones? Have you cut them back yet?

4 thoughts on “Another winter milestone

  1. That is an impressive bouquet, actually. I’m sure I’ll see some Dutch florist genius rip it off soon.

    Susan, I was thinking it could spark a new trend for tiny winter wedding bouquets… -kris

  2. I tried bringing in a rosemary plant, which developed powdery mildew, depressing, but it seems that is very common. Next year I won’t bother! Brought in a lemon verbena and let it go dormant. I am excited to see if it awakens.

    Jean, Too bad about your rosemary. They don’t love coming inside… On the other hand, I’m sure your lemon verbena will awaken – we used to keep one over down cellar here and it came back very reliably. I’m experimenting with a dormant Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister’ at home. I even remembered to water it a little this weekend! Fingers crossed… -kris

  3. Hi Kris-
    I enjoy your blog very much and appreciate all the copious horticultural expertise you bring to Blithewold. I am especially appreciative that you bring attention to the green house plants, as the art of greenhouse plants in Northern climates is so often forgotten these days in this world of so many blooming shipments from under the equator and winter homes in sunnier and warmer climates. BUT!!! so many of us spend the short gloomy winter days in the chill, and it is such a desperately needed pleasure to watch our plants perform despite the cold and dark. I do not have a green house, but keep my tender perennials in front of a slider door in an unheated walk out basement that faces north west . Actually, so far, I have had great luck with my rosemary standard, it often blooms, and also have a bay plant, geraniums, marguerites, and, like you, some Salvia “Flame Dancer” that have lived for almost 5 years now and are going strong. Just like yours, mine keep the old blossoms most all winter, and then fill out at the base. They are so beautiful twelve months a year, and I love them all the more when I see the bright variegated foliage and vivid red flowers up against the snowy back yard. I have tried for a couple of years now to winter over the new euphorbia that looks like baby’s breath (emerald frost?), but it doesn’t seem to like the cold of the basement. I live in zone 3, and so vinca major does not survive the winter outside, but it is wonderful inside, where it starts to bloom it’s true blue blooms in February, it is budding now. I cut everything way back before they go out in the summer, and if I want cuttings, I take them about a month before they can go out side(end of May in zone 3)

    Kathy, It sounds like you have a perfect set-up! Like you we haven’t had much luck with Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’, I think it is, either. It would survive but never thrived. I would venture a guess that the part of the greenhouse we kept it in is a little warmer than your basement … I always just figured I watered it too much/too little… Thank you so much for sharing your list of successes too – I’ll bet more people have a place for wintering over tender perennials than they think – especially since you say NW exposure works for you in chilly zone 3! -kris

  4. Accidental gardening…..
    On moving last fall to our new digs I brought a thriving pot of tender ivy purchased last spring at Allen Haskell’s perfect nursery. Thought it would live in a on the steps of a cool, sunny basement bulkhead. Watered here and there, gave it zero love.

    Much to my wondering eyes appeared last week the most beautiful leaves of a forgotten green-on-green hosta tucked into the ivy! Instantly moved from its black plastic to more presentable clay, this “arrangement” now resides in the dining room window. Voila!

    Ginny, I love this story! Loved it so much I double checked all of my own plants currently getting zero love. Alas, no such happy surprises. At least most are still alive… kris

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