Urban Gardener: Seeds in the Snowbed
Saturday, February 08, 2014
Do allow snow to accumulate without too much fuss. I keep my sidewalk clear from granite curbstone across to garden wall, the standard city four feet. Anything shoved from here may with care go into a narrow front raised bed. Lots of urban space is curb to hedge or wall and fence. I have all three and each calls for a tweak in technique. The snow is to enhance the plants beneath and is a benign form of water for our gardens. The front sidewalk is a very sunny stretch and snow melts here first. I pile with impunity over echinecea, daffodils, crocus, grape hyacinth, brown eyed Susan, and thyme. I do not however, pile snow over roses, hydrangeas or figs. The roses are especially unforgiving of deep snow.
I have the luxury of living with bamboo. Nothing surpasses my communion with the resilient bamboo. Cold has burned the green foliage and wind stripped some leaves. Enough remain however for our snow to gather upon distant leaves and soon the entire stalk bends in a long arc tending towards the soil. Given the least encouragement from wind the bamboo stalks would shoulder most snows and ice. However still or very slow moving snowfalls of large moist flakes bring down long graceful stems.
I moved along the bamboo outpost and gently, shook each stem, careful not to pull the leaves off the branches and soon a cascade of snow- flakes powder my winter coat. Not to be discouraged, I continued onward, always lifting firmly and gently from beneath the bamboo stems. A constant shake along their stalks and soon they were far above my head amid silence and utter quiet. Snow eats of up sound and has its own signature. The bamboo absorbs light and cast deep shadows. The ground underneath them is always the coldest part of the garden and the last to lose its frost. My feet are firmly on the ground. Gravity holds the moment. Cold silent darkness is perfect for a deep breath and a survey of the winter garden.
Gardeners are thoughtful people. We are visionaries, ever alert to new vistas, intrigued by the constant process of growth and its nuance. Winter stars above us and the half-moon are more brilliant in the snow. The frozen mulch protects the many bulbs, seeds, tubers and roots. The apparent empty space above begs for our attention. Our nature is to fill a vacuum. Inside the garden shed I have tacked a few labels and pictures of plants in the ground. I often fall victim to vivid advertising and may hold out for a short while. Within the house I’ve started my courtship with seed catalogs. Yet there is some gardening in the house with every intention for spring.
I have an ancient cane begonia long resident in my family. This sturdy plant thrives through depressions, wars, countless children and dogs. It blooms freely twice a year in magnificent umbrells of pink blooms. I make stem cuttings on the new growth. The cuttings are about the size of pencils, I moisten and roll in rooting powder and pot up on a bright window sill. The few houseplants I keep are gigantic and it’s a good feeling to have a new generation in the window. Latter in the season I’ll take these cuttings and transplant into large pots for magnificent specimen plants. I encourage everyone to start new plants from cuttings while there is snow on the ground.
This is a fine time to cut a few branches of forsythia and put in water. Keep in sunshine and always wet. Do this simple gardening with children. Teach them the careful and proper use of pruning tools with the appropriate gloves, eye protection and care. It is never too early to demonstrate careful and considered motion in the garden. A calm and gentle breath will bring us in harmony with the plants and one another. This is very useful around thorny roses or angry bees.
Gardeners are thoughtful people and visionaries. Today we think of now and then. There is such wonderful play at our fingertips and a joy every day. Let it snow. Tomorrow it will melt and melting, our gardens are revealed. I think it will be glorious.
Related Slideshow: 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Her
A Charming Gift
Show your special someone that you cherish them this Valentine's Day by giving them a unique gift from Alex and Ani. The popular Rhode Island retailer has outdone themselves this Valentine's Day season offering a variety of gifts -- including bangles, wraps, and earrings. You can even personalize your piece with a cupid or heart charm.
Price: $28 and up
Buy it from: Alex and Ani, Providence, Cranston, Newport, East Greenwich
She adores it so why not indulge her? Pink Pineapple carries the best cashmere in the chicest styles. Choose a stunning black tunic to wear with winter boots or a bright sweater in a Palm Beach color to lift a dreary winter mood. Go ahead...make her Valentine's Day!
Price: $120 and up
Buy it from: Pink Pineapple, Newport, Portsmouth
Today's mini clips and barrettes are yesterday's glamorous 40's hair combs. The most fanciful and sparkly are at Karol Richardson. Just one of these irresistible little hair charmers will throw facets of light back at your smiling face in thanks. You'll love the candy counter experience so cast a spell with one (or two), made in France with Swarovski crystals.
Price: $4 and up
Buy it from: Karol Richardson, Newport
Lingerie is a traditional Valentine's Day gift but forget granny gowns and opt for an exquisite chemise in a sumptuous color. Blush of Montreal's Sweetest Sin chemise works for all women with its covered lace and quarter wire for support. The beauty of lace is that it draws attention but reveals little.
Price: For prices, click here or call
She'll love an iconic heart in sweet shimmering silver. Green River Silver Co. has outdone themselves with pendants, bracelets, and earrings of whimsical hearts to cherish. Better choose two as she'll surely want one close to her heart.
Price: $18 and up
Buy it from: Green River Silver Co., Bristol, Providence, Wickford
Luxurious Body Care
Thymes Goldleaf bath products make a stunning impression. Besides the packaging being festive and pretty, the jasmine, rose, and hyacinth draw a tapestry of scent on her skin. Put together a combination of bath powder, lotion, and soap and then give her an hour to herself, no questions asked. Your Valentine will find one hundred ways to thank you!
Buy it from: Kate & Company, Bristol
Valentine's Day Dinner
End Valentine’s Day on a romantic note this year with a spectacular dinner in Seasons at the Ocean House. Ocean House chefs will take you through five palate-enticing courses, each highlighting the best of the New England bounty. Celebrate one another and the passion that you share over a decadent dessert. What are you waiting for? Click here to make your reservation.
Price: $95/ per person (plus tax and gratuity); Wine pairing is an additional $40/ per person.
Buy it from: Ocean House, Watch Hill
A Beautiful Bouquet
Nothing says "I love you" on Valentine's Day like a wonderful bouquet of flowers. Express your love Valentine's Day beautiful and affordable flowers from A New Leaf. From romantic roses to impressive modern bouquets, A New Leaf offers nearly 50 unique Valentine's Day special that are sure to please even the most discerning eye.
Price: $34.95 and up
Buy it from: A New Leaf, Providence
A Music Lover's Dream
Does your Valentine have an affinity for Opera music? How about taking her to the Blithewold Mansion on Valentine's Day for a concert she'll never forget. Opera Providence will present “A Happy Valentine’s Day Concert” on Friday Friday, Feb. 14th, at 7pm and Sunday, Feb. 16th at 3pm at the Blithewold Mansion. The event features the voices of the Opera Providence Ensemble.
Price: All concert tickets are $40 per person. Tickets for the entire concert series are $75 per person.
Buy it from: Click here to purchase tickets or call 401-331-6060.
The Perfect Perfume
It's no secret that roses and Valentine's Day go hand in hand, but what about rose-scented fragrances? Think outside the box and get your special lady an all natural botanical perfume blended with real rose petals from Providence Perfume Company.
Price: $30 and up
Buy it from: Providence Perfume Co., Providence
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