|Ornament on my Christmas tree|
My husband surprised me with a special gift; the entire American Horticulture Society's Encyclopedia of Gardening. We're not talking one book here but four gigantic, full color books on every gardening technique, every plant you can possible imagine. There are separate volumes for Perennials and one entirely devoted to Roses. I sat on the couch on Christmas Day and gingerly flipped through the volume; I felt like I was holding a library book from the reference section, I was so careful with those books. I don't think I have ever received such a book. I have two other books on gardening on the reading pile right now, one on country garden designs and the Plant Propagator's Bible - a book someone in the Master Gardener association recommended to me. I am looking forward to reading them!
The garden hasn't really gone to sleep yet; I have phlox, scabiosa and even a few gaillardia blooming. I had petunias blooming until Christmas. We get a few days of chilly weather and a frost here or there, but it hasn't gotten cold and stayed cold yet. The bulbs have all sprouted; I have at least 1-2 inches of green showing throughout the garden where I planted the spring bulbs. The kittens have been naughty in the garden, using my rose arbor as a jungle gym and my tulips beds as their bathroom. Maybe I will get especially nice tulips next year given the extra fertilizer?
Speaking of next year, part of my work this week has been thinking and planning around this blog. It's grown over the years from my first blogging adventure, where I recounted all the newness and excitement of moving from Long Island to rural south central Virginia. Now I feel as if I belong here; five years have flown by, and I feel as if I have some of the rhythm of my new life in place. And I love it! So what to do now with the blog?
I've gotten emails over the years from people who say that my articles, books and posts have helped them feel more adventurous and try to grow a garden. One lady grows herbs, something she never thought she could do; another person has tried - successfully - to grow African violets again. This makes me so happy. I am going to focus the blog, moving forward, on helpful tips, articles, plant profiles and gardening stories for people who kill plastic plants. Oh, of course there are going to be some advanced stuff in here; and I will continue updates on the critters, the farm, what is growing here and more. But I plan to add back some recipes and cooking pages to the blog, so newcomers will know what to do with all that luscious fresh produce they grow; book reviews, so you can find good and useful reading material on gardening; photo essays featuring my photography, to inspire you (I hope) or make you laugh (more likely.) And finally, I am going to share more links to websites, resources and materials that you may find useful.
As for our garden here at Seven Oaks, 2013 brings us more work on the hardscapes here; we want to add an arbor and pergola into the woods, and extend the flower beds. I can already see that some of the wood has rotted away on the raised beds and I will need to reinforce the corners to keep them together. I want to add more perennials, but grow more from seed, and raise more plants to help the Master Gardener plant sale in May. As for houseplants, my list includes adding various African violets, a cyclamen or two, and an orchid or two to the plant room.
What are your garden plans for 2013? What do you want to accomplish in the new year? Post your thoughts in the comments section, along with any suggestions for articles, and I will try to respond to them.