Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Gardener's Mid-Winter Fix

                                                  Garden Fairy undaunted by Nemo.

So far in 2013, Mother Nature has been flaunting her full range of talents.  We have had days in the single digits with below zero wind chills, a fifty degree day,  rain, sleet, freezing rain, and of course, Nemo.

View across frozen pond.
I love living in the Northeast and experiencing our distinctly different four seasons.  That said, I start to get a touch of cabin fever come February.  I pull out my seed catalogs and gardening books. 

A little light reading.
The New Terrarium, the book that started it all.
I first discovered gardening under glass at the Philadelphia Flower Show a number of years ago.  I learned that terrariums have changed a great deal since the '70's.  This book by Tovah Martin is the ultimate how to book for those just starting out.  Needless to say, this has become an obsession.  For more great info check out her website tovahmartin.com/

The Unexpected Houseplant
Then there is Tovah's latest book, The Unexpected Houseplant, in which she shows us how any plant can come inside.  Everything from bulbs to perennials, to ornamental grasses. Even conifers can have a special place in the home.  Whatever makes your heart sing.  Even the lowliest of plants from the grocery store should not be overlooked!  As a result of these two books I have very little space left.  I keep telling a certain patient spouse that they are all creating more oxygen for our home.  Not sure he's buying it.  

Some of Tovah's unexpected houseplants.  Please note arrangement in vintage colander.
I recently attended a lecture at the The Berkshire Botanical Garden  in West Stockbridge, MA.
It was billed as a "Houseplant Smackdown" and featured lectures by Tovah, Rob Gennari and David Burdick.  Tovah was first up and showed slides of plants from her own home.  Yes, I want to move in. 
Some of Rob's beautiful orchids.
 Next was Rob of Glendale Botanicals, demonstrating how to transplant orchids.  I can take a hack saw to an ornamental grass but orchids scare me to death!  Rob showed us all that orchids are no shrinking violets as he cut off their blooms, ripped them from their pots and shook all the old planting material away from the roots.  He gave me the courage to finally take care of some terribly neglected orchids. 

David's bromeliads
David shared his wonderful collection of Bromeliads.  I have never been terribly impressed with the specimens at our local box store but David opened my eyes to the many different and beautiful varieties available.  After the lectures we all took home cuttings from various plants.  Yup, more plants to bring home!

A must when visiting the Berkshires

The final stop of the day was one of my favorite places, Campo de Fiori just outside of Great Barrington, MA.  They offer a fantastic selection of terracotta pots of various designs and sizes.  All are beautifully displayed in their shop.  There are terrariums, begonias of all types and lovely decorator items for the home.  I never leave empty handed.

"Seconds" for sale in the yard.  I get some great buys here!

Time for tea with book and Begonia cutting.
I am presently reading Lincoln.  I am determined to finish it before I see the movie.  It was a rule of my Father's that out of respect for the author, you should always read the book first.

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