Spring means: rhizome pruning!

I'm a little ahead of myself as spring is not actually here yet, but late winter is when I prune the rhizomes on my bamboos. This must be done at least once a year (better if I do it a second time in the fall though) in order to keep the bamboos from taking over the garden and my neighbors' yards.

My large bamboos all have a mulch-filled trench around them in order to make this task easier, and the mattock is my tool of choice to find and cut those escaped rhizomes. The tool is actually resting in the trench in the above photo.


Flashback to Springs past

Since spring is holding out and I'm unable to bring myself to get out into the cold to scrounge up some halfhearted photos of crocus or daffodil foliage emerging or whatever, I thought I'd take a quick look back at some things that really cheer me up...

...starting with kittens! Read on for more and for some cheery springy/summery photos from the past.


Winter trees: last chance?

I'm hoping this is my last winter trees post for this season, as surely spring is just a week or two away, right?

A need to stretch my legs let me discover these wonderful trees at a rest area somewhere between Springfield (Illinois) and St. Louis. Mainly sycamores, which are probably the best trees to see around here in the sunlight against a blue late winter sky.


Wednesday Vignette: Bent!

A rain/snow mix overnight made things pretty...

...unless you're a bamboo grower. A bamboo grower who likes upright plants that is, because this morning's word is "bent".


Winter wilds, and reminiscing

Last weekend I was visiting my mother in the Chicago area again. Although I didn't take photos of the trip this time, I did take a hike into the nearby "Forest Preserve". Some pretty scenes on this balmy day (high of about 60ºF/15ºC), and I got to reminisce a bit too.

The power lines are always interesting, always crackling. This is the view of them before I got into the park, just a block or so away from my childhood home.


Thinking about veggies

A taste of Spring this weekend had me taking a look at the veggie garden last Thursday, as I thought it would be an ideal time to get some seeds into the ground. Before planting though, it was time to review what was already here.

I think I might need to rename this area -- which I currently call the "veggie garden" -- to "The Shambles". Much more appropriate right now with its falling-down fence and general horrible appearance.


Taste of spring, finding another surprise

With three days of spring-like temperatures arriving starting today, I dragged the potted walking stick bamboo (Chimonobambusa Tumidissinoda) out of the garage.

It's been outdoors for most of the winter, but I brought it in whenever low temps were forecast below about 25ºF (-4ºC). Since it was down to single digits F just a few days ago, it's been getting in my way enjoying itself in the garage. We both appreciate getting it back outside!


Introducing: Druhm

The third in my geometric stool/table series is now here: Druhm!

Whorn is cube-like, Trang is triangular, and Druhm is cylindrical. This one was fun to make!


Three things

As winter drags on, it's becoming more difficult to find interesting things to post about. I'm avoiding the seed catalogs this year as I always buy too much and I'm intent on using my existing seed stock, so what's there to say on another grey, cold morning?

A trip to Home Depot for something unrelated to the gardening provides the answer. Home Depot always comes through with good topics to question, and today there are two.



A weekend of bitter cold gives way to warmer temperatures, bringing us a foggy morning and a taste of Spring later this week.

For now though grey wins the day, and Spring feels so very far away.


I'm sick of this!

Winter that is. It's not that the cold weather has me down, although if pleasant temperatures would hurry along that would be fine with me.

No, it's the extra work involved in overwintering plants indoors. Poster child for my struggles this year is this peppermint. I had high hopes of fresh mint tea this winter, but an aphid outbreak -- where did they come from exactly? -- combined with the wrong organic insect killer fried the mint.


Still winter, but that's okay!

Yes, it's still Winter.

That's not necessarily a bad thing though.


Wednesday Vignette: workshop greenery

I've been spending a lot of time in the workshop lately, and it's the place where my new career and main passion (gardening) currently meet.

True, if I lived in a warmer climate I'd probably not have much in the way of plants that need to overwinter, or I'd find a better spot in which to place them for the colder months.


A little bit smaller: Mini-Bayce

A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to the Bayce, a plant container/stand that I make by hand here in St. Louis (and that you can own).

Today, meet Mini-Bayce, the smaller version of Bayce!


More indoor growth

Last week I talked about the cactus that always seem to grow during the winter, regardless of how much light or water they get. Although I'm happy to see something growing at all during winter, my excitement is balanced by worry -- that winter growth won't be as "strong" as it will be once the plant moves back outside in the spring.

Today I'll show you something that I'm very excited about, no negative to balance it out: my fiddle-leaf fig.


Growing, why?

One thing I've learned after several years of overwintering plants indoors is that there is a balance that you need to strike between growing and not. The "not" is semi-dormancy and this is what I want for most of the plants, but some of them I actually want to push out new growth.

Some grow when I do not want them to, and I can't really figure out why. These "Nopales" cactus for instance, of which I have several. They insist on creating new pads every winter, even though they may have very little light and water.


Shapes and Patterns

I'm in a shapes and patterns mood today.

So just photos of lines and circles and related from around the garden, all visible from inside the warm house (with a telephoto lens).


Wednesday Vignette: kitchen window view

The view through my kitchen window has changed so much over the past 5 years -- it has become one of my favorite vignettes. Perfect for The Wednesday Vignette hosted by Anna!

The main feature of this vignette is the bamboo.


Winter, in black and white

The stark beauty of Winter is often overlooked, as the clearest, prettiest days are usually the coldest.

Today I've decided to post a few photos that I've taken recently, but in black and white. The removal of color variations lets you focus on the structure, and of course winter structure to me means trees.


Winter Trees are Art

On Friday we took advantage of a sunny afternoon and spent a couple of hours at the St. Louis Art Museum. Before we had even gotten inside I saw art...

...not in the outdoor sculptures, but in the birch trees. Winter trees really speak to me!


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