The Weekly Gardener 1

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Gracefully Asleep

One Warm Day

Flowering Vine

The year started frozen like the arctic landscape, and then the temperatures spiked into the fifties and dropped back to zero again.

During this short period of warm weather I picked a sunny day to take pictures of the winter garden and spend some time with it, since I always miss it during the cold season.

There isn't much to see in the garden in winter, a few resilient evergreens that just won't quit, colorful berries that look even brighter against the snow, a few plumes of grass shivering in the wind, fluffed up cardinal birds perched on naked branches, painted sunsets, and quiet, such quiet.

The weeds had a field day, literally, and it's going to be interesting when the weather warms up and I finally get to do the spring cleaning, but that's a worry for another season. For now I'm happy tending to my indoor garden, whose plants are, for the most part, natives of the southern hemisphere, and for this reason are just now starting to bloom.

I haven't begun planning for spring yet, although some of the seed catalogs have already started coming in the mail. I'm just taking a little time, one sunny day, to watch my garden just be, a little languid and untidy during its off season, gracefully asleep.

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Still Going

Sedum Seedheads

The sedums' color transformation didn't go all the way to dark brown last fall, as it usually does by the end of the season, so they looked almost radiant in the morning sun of an unexpected sunny day in January.

Sedums are staple landscaping plants, and for good reasons: they are extremely hardy, have a generous blooming season, are relatively long lived and can thrive in any soil.

You can grow sedums in the shade, but they really need sunlight to thrive, even if it's only for a few hours a day, or dappled through rare tree foliage.

Their clumps grow very large over the years and eventually hollow in the middle, signaling to the gardener that it's time to divide them. You can do that at any time if you want to propagate them, even though standard gardening practice recommends dividing them in spring, but you don't have to, because they're prolific self-seeders and you will always find babies around the mother plant at the beginning of the season. Don't worry if the new plants look tiny when you plant them, by the time fall rolls around they will be fully grown.

Plant them in shallow beds, that's what they like, and don't fuss around them too much, their stems are sappy and break very easily. Hail, heavy downpours and strong winds are very damaging to sedums for this reason, otherwise they are real troopers: they don't even notice draughts, need very little feeding, and love heavy alkaline soils.