Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Seeds of Summer

I am being buried in seed catalogs. I love it. Last year, I dabbled in the Dried Flower Bed at Rutgers Gardens. It was assigned to me at the last minute, so I had to settle for planting leftovers from the greenhouse. Needless to say, it was not a success. This year, I will be able to grow flowers ahead of time in the greenhouse specifically for the Dried Flower Bed. I’ve found a lot of interesting flowers but need to narrow down my list. It’s a small bed. There’s just not enough room for everything that I want to grow.

The bed is surrounded on two sides by a fence. I plan on growing small decorative gourds on the fence. Yes, I know that they aren’t flowers but neither are the decorative grasses that are already in the bed. I’m such a rebel!

Being a long time volunteer (6 years!) has its privileges. I’ve decided to branch out and try growing veggies. There is a waiting list for veggie beds, but the Volunteer Coordinator allowed me to jump to the head of the list and grab a bed that was being relinquished by another gardener. I will be growing stuff that I cook with such as parsley, carrots, onions, garlic and herbs. I have to have a few flowers so I will be growing edible flowers such as nasturtiums, marigolds and calendulas.

I think I will declare this the Year of the Zinnia. I saw lots of interesting varieties of zinnias in the catalogs that would be perfect for my gardens at home.

This is my favorite time of year when I can dream about my gardens. In my dreams, they always look lovely and never have weeds.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Oh no, not again!

New Jersey seems to be blessed with weekly snowfalls. First there was the Christmas Blizzard, then a couple more inches last week. It was so little that I didn’t bother shoveling it. Last night we were graced with another foot of snow. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. There was only 6” to 8” in my yard, although some areas did get up to a foot.

Most people were probably glad that the storm happened over night. They were able to get home from work before it started and when they got up this morning, the plows had cleared the snow away.

It was another story for those of us who work non-traditional hours. There was already 4” on the ground when I left at midnight. After cleaning snow off of my car, I crawled home at 25 mph over snow covered roads in the darkness. The concept of “lanes” no longer existed. Traffic lights became the enemy. Red lights had to be carefully timed so that I could either roll to a stop or glide slowly through them praying that the drivers coming the other way would allow me time to clear the intersection. Even green lights were a problem. Once I was stopped, starting up again was a problem as my tires fought for traction in the snow.

My normal 20 minute commute turned into a 45 minute white knuckled odyssey as I negotiated inclines and curves in a vehicle over which I had little control. Even my driveway has a slight incline so rather than being relieved at arriving home, I was unsure if my car would make it up the driveway.

Today I made the happy discovery that it is a lot easier to shovel snow when I have had more than a couple of hours of sleep and there is less than a foot of powder rather than the 2’ to 3’ of snow that I had to deal with two weeks ago. I was all shoveled out in less than 30 minutes.

Which made the birds happy. They were fed early today. I always spread seed on the snow for ground feeders like the mourning doves and juncos.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The New Years Cactus

I opened the curtains in my kitchen today and found this:

My Christmas cactus is blooming. Again. In January. Again. Six years after the first time it bloomed.

I haven’t done anything differently this year. But it has.

There is a bud in addition to the flower. Two flowers this year!

Does that mean that it will have three flowers the next time it blooms six years from now?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years in the Gardens

I love this picture. The trees look so ghostly.

I spent New Years Day in my favorite place: Rutgers Gardens. I was surprised at the amount of snow left over from last week’s blizzard despite the warm temperatures we have experienced since then.

The snow has been melting in interesting shapes.

Evidence of the high winds was scattered all over the floor of Helyar Woods.

Photo of the Day

I love the colors in this shot.

You can see more photos of my New Years Walk in the Gardens on Flickr.