Impressive! Or is it?

I've been feeling a bit envious of my gardening friends in milder west coast climates, who live where nurseries and garden centers stay open and inviting all winter long. Weekend shopping trip for new plants? It's not something I get to enjoy here in St. Louis. The end of February is when they start ramping up though, and this past weekend a quest for some specific kale seeds gave me an excuse to visit a couple.



The first one didn't hold my interest with its limited selection of houseplants (they'll soon be buzzing though and I'll post about them), but the second -- Greenscape Gardens -- has a pretty great selection of things I'd need to grow indoors, including Agaves. The one above caught my eye first, with its crazy markings and white leaf margins.

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Winter and Spring

Outdoors it's mostly winter, with more snow this past weekend, and some cold temperatures.


It gave me what was hopefully the last look this year at snow-dusted bamboo, which is so beautiful.

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Propagate!

This is the time of year that although it is only 10ºF (-12ºC) or so, I start gardening again -- yahoo! Like many of you I start seeds indoors at this time, but this is also when I start seriously thinking about propagation of some of the plants I overwintered.


I love buying new plants as much as the next plant-crazy gardening addict person, but I also appreciate not having to buy the same plants every single year. So with a little effort I overwinter what would have been annuals, then make several new plants from them for planting outdoors once it warms up.

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More sprouts

I'm dedicated to success with sprouts right now. The first sunflower sprout crop was a bit of a disappointment, as the true leaves came in before the sprouts were big enough. We still ate them though. The second set of sunflower sprouts -- also grown in soil like the first -- were given less light but appear to have the same issue. We're still eating those.


So I've started some pea sprouts, deciding to leave them in the jar rather than growing them in soil. I've had some trouble with the jar method before, but I'm determined to get it right this time. Soon at least.

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How you look at it...


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It's seed inventory time!

Most years the lure of the seed catalogs combines with an early taste of spring fever and I end up ordering seeds without regard for what I might already have leftover from previous years. The same applies when I visit local seed displays, with the result being that I usually have much more seed than I can use in a single season.


This year I decided two things about my seed collection: first that I would review what I already had before making any purchases, and second that I would sow as much of my old seeds as possible this year. Today I start with the first part, and this simple brown paper bag.

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Bloom

My late-because-of-me Amaryllis have started to bloom, at least the one that didn't produce the offsets. It's my favorite of the two I have, so I'm glad it's the one that flowered!


Just a quick look on another cold morning. I suppose spring is coming soon?

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Another thing I miss: discovery (and toads!)

Yesterday I posted butterfly photos from summer 2007 to give myself a reminder of what's coming in the next few months -- this cold can't last forever. Today I continue with that look back to highlight one of the things that I miss most about not being out in the garden: discovery!


In late May 2009 my morning garden walk revealed a toad in my stream. I watched and photographed him for quite a long time, ending up with what are some of my favorite photos ever. Here's a brief review of that morning.

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Looking back to warmer days

I don't know if it got as cold as they said it would last night, but this morning when I checked it was 0ºF (-18ºC), which is cold enough. In fact, I'm not in the mood to show you anything wintery today, so I decided to look back into my pre-blog photo archives to find...


...butterflies! Apparently July 2007 was a very good year for butterflies in my garden, or at least I was out there enough that I captured lots of photos. The black swallowtail is the one that I see most, so that's what I started with here.

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