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  • Writer's pictureKate

The Winter that Wasn't

Winter 2019/2020 is the Winter that wasn't. We experienced almost no snowfall in NJ and much higher than normal temperatures. While I realize overall this is not a good thing, I did enjoy not freezing my tush off every day. Luckily, I enjoy Winter, and was able to escape to our home in Vermont for some below freezing temps and plenty of nice, fresh snow.

The Winter that wasn't means an early Spring! Yay! I have been fortunate to have a few daffodils blooming as of March 4th which is really quite early for New Jersey standards. The pop of greenery and bright yellow has been lovely and goes a long way to curing any lingering Winter blues.

My first project for the Spring season is tackling my front porch planters. I have had lovely Green Velvet Boxwoods in single planters flanking our front porch stairs. They have been there for two years now. I always knew they would go in the landscape eventually but they have done so well out there I couldn't find reason to move them. Until now. Out go the boxwood and in go some bright cheery rununculus. When pansies are more readily available they will join the rununculus to round out these containers. Stay tuned.

This year will be the year of reduce, reuse, recycle for our home gardens. I am going to make a concerted effort to use what we have. I promise, to dig, to divide, to transplant all that I can and make our money go further. Am I pledging not to buy any plants? Of course not, let's not get crazy here. However, I have lots of plant material here in New Jersey and in Vermont that is overdue for dividing. Perfect timing.

I am also a big fan of buying plants that live for some period of time in a container and then moving them out into the landscape. I feel like this can make one's plant budget stretch much further. While this plant technically falls into that category, it was by benign neglect. I purchased a Proven Winners Double Blue Chiffon Rose of Sharon in August of last year after searching for some time for one. I don't absolutely love Rose of Sharon, but I am absolutely a sucker for anything with a double flower.

I make my husband absolutely nuts when I do things like buy an expensive plant and never get it in the ground or a container and I can't say why exactly this happened but it did. Sue me. I am happy to report it seems to still be alive and has now found it's way into the landscape. Keep your fingers crossed on this one, folks.

Ooops, I fibbed. The first little project I did this Spring was a few weeks ago when I trimmed my Knockout Roses. I cut them back by about a third knowing I would take them out of their containers. See, you can even plant roses in containers! I'm sorry I don't have pictures but I just did it on a whim and didn't have my phone outside with me.

We created two new beds out back in the Fall and I knew that I wanted the roses and the boxwoods from front containers to go in there. Today was the day I got started (and finished!) on that. I successfully transplanted both roses (I think I am going to add a third one) and all three boxwoods to anchor this bed. I will still need quite a bit more plant material but I have some Nepeta, Hostas, and possibly daylilies that can go in there from elsewhere around the property. Win-win.

Last but not least, Hellebores! I've never had any before and have wanted a few for a long time now. I bit the bullet yesterday and bought some. By the way friends, Hellebores are hella expensive! Yikes. I hope they last. These are called HGC Love Bug and I am, indeed, in love. Their sweet nodding flowers and this gorgeous color just can't be beat.

All in all, I am feeling like it is a good start. I am super excited about the Spring and Summer and all they have to offer for gardeners of all stripes. Get out there, get your hands dirty, breathe the fresh air, and just get growing!


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