No garden variety apologies needed

While shopping at box stores and garden nurseries, I often see old friends and meet new ones, usually over plants. In fact, it’s one of my favorite ways to meet people. At parties, when new friends learn I’m a garden writer, they seem to feel the need to apologize for their garden or lack of plant-growing…

Seven ways to smile through winter

It’s only mid-January, and I’ve reached winter’s crying time. You think I’m being overly dramatic? I’m not. Usually, I reach this stage mid-February right after Valentine’s Day, but crying time came early this year. In one week, Oklahoma had a snowstorm, an ice storm and copious rain. Don’t panic. I’m not really crying. I am…

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, January

The only things blooming at RDR in January are those in my indoor garden: amaryllis, hyacinths, daffodils and lily of the valley, to name a few. This living menagerie is enough to get me through winter. As I wrote last week, blooming plants beat the winter blues. I started forcing hyacinths and milder scented paperwhites in September…

Hyacinth vases

I began forcing hyacinths in vases several years ago. I became enamored of the process, and it’s now a ritual to take out the vases, wash all of them in soapy water and get them ready for their hyacinth bulbs. They spend most of the year in a broom closet in our kitchen on shelves Bill…

Growing plants in the greenhouse

Have you ever wanted a greenhouse? Most obsessive gardeners do, and who could blame them? Growing plants in a greenhouse is one of those exquisite pleasures Victorian gardeners understood. A greenhouse or sunroom full of plants gets a gardener through the cold, dark days of winter. This is the third winter for our greenhouse, and we’ve figured out…

Buy bulbs now before it’s too late

Consider this your bulb-buying reminder, nay warning. Now is the time to buy bulbs to plant for fall. If you want tulips, daffodils, purple hyacinths, blue chionodoxa, fritillaria in cream, orange, yellow or even dusky purple, you need to order now. Otherwise, you’ll be sad in November when you sit down to the computer to…

How to force bulbs indoors

I was recently with a friend, Emma Jeffery from Hello Beautiful, and we started talking about how to force bulbs. Emma is originally from England, and she said, “Oh yes, Mum always did that. I did too.” She seemed genuinely surprised that in America we aren’t as likely to force bulbs. I told her I…

Puttering and potting up

Whew! I’ve been working steadily to get The 20-30 Something Garden Guide done, and writing, proofing, editing doesn’t leave much time for anything else, especially blogging. I miss you guys. I did write a post on the 20/30 Something blog if you want to go visit. Still, I had one day this week where I stepped…

Bulb forcing experiments

Yes, I know, it’s mid-fall, and here I am talking about forcing bulbs indoors. Well, now is the time. All bulbs except the Narcissus tazetta class and Hippeastrum (amaryllis) must be chilled for approximately twelve weeks, give or take, before you can force them on vase or in bowls–or any other container you’d like. Last…