Surprising rare: frost

One of my favorite things about the garden in winter is those frosty mornings, the cold early hours where the sparkly beauty lures me outdoors with the camera.

This winter though, frost has been a rare thing indeed. Sure we've had some cold, cold mornings, but cold alone doesn't mean that frost forms. Even though yesterday's high was near 50ºF (10ºC), the morning was cold and a little bit of frost formed. I managed to take a few shots.


Looking for signs

We've had a fairly mild winter in St. Louis so far this year, with just a couple of exceptions. It's been especially snowless -- unlike some parts of the country -- which means that gardeners eager for spring get "the bug" early. And by "gardeners" I mean me.

Even though I know that the very earliest perennials (crocus, daffodils, dicentra) don't emerge until late February, I'm already out there looking for signs of survival. You thought I was going to say "signs of spring", right? No, I'm more curious right now about which plants survived the winter and which did not. So I start looking closely...


Lazy gardener, lazy plant

Perhaps "lazy" isn't the right word -- "forgetful" may be more appropriate -- but it's time again for my annual "hey, where did I end up putting those Amaryllis bulbs?" query. You're familiar with Amaryllis, right? Their blooms at Christmas are common in many holiday homes -- but not mine.

In order to get them to bloom they need a dormancy period of at least a month (maybe more), and then a few weeks at least before the flower stalk emerges. Timing it so the big, bold blooms appear at the end of December is not something that I've ever been able to manage.


Cuttings, fragrant

One thing that I do every autumn as the first freezing temperatures are forecast is take cuttings of plants with fragrant foliage. I keep them in a jar of water in the kitchen window, just to have them available for an occasional rub and sniff.

Sometimes I get a bonus and the cuttings actually root, but my main goal is not to produce new plants -- it's the fragrance! This year I preserved only two different plants from my own garden this way, but one from my mother's as well.


Question #3: why?

Today is a simple question, perfect for a Friday post when my brain is not up to the task of using too many words: "why?"

As in "why is it so difficult to notice seeds in my potting mix?". I reuse potting mix all the time, and well, I get surprise seedlings in there quite regularly.


Question #2: when?

I've been getting some good ideas on what to do with the metal drum, and I have another question for you: "when?"

Actually, "when do I water?", referring to the several potted succulent plants that I'm overwintering indoors. The first one is the pride of this new collection, the unhuggable Pachypodium lamerei.


Question #1: what?

I have a few questions that I thought I'd ask you about. The first is "what?" -- or more precisely, "what to do?"

I have a 55-gallon drum that spent the summer, and now the winter, on the driveway. I have a few ideas of what I could do with it this next growing season, but none of them is overly compelling.


Quiet, cool morning

I spent quite some time out in the garden yesterday morning, eager for visual excitement, searching for sights to share. So much time that I couldn't bring my camera indoors immediately (it's right into a ziplock bag to prevent condensation forming inside the camera and lenses while it acclimates to the warm air)... I wasn't able to post any of these yesterday. But that just makes for an extra-long series of images today! Lots of interesting stuff out there if you're willing to look.


Favorite photos of 2014

In January I like to show you what photos I think are best from the past year. It's not a list of my favorite posts of the past year -- that comes on my anniversary in March -- but it is a gallery of the photos I'm most proud of.

January 2013: the frozen pond can be so pretty

If you see something that you particularly like but don't remember reading about, use the "archives" listing on the right of this blog to browse for it. Links to previous "best photo" posts at the end of this post. Enjoy!


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