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Home grown: Mary Pellerito

Winter gardening

March 02, 2011 - Gardeners in the winter spend their time dreaming of the ideal garden.

As I look out the front window, I see grey sky, a foot of snow on the ground, and the beginning of a shrub border. I see shrub branches, rose stems, and the stems of perennials I never cut down in the fall poke out of the snow. I really need to add some evergreens to the border as well as adding a shrub here and there to fill in the design.

On the other side of the shrub border is empty space where I am going to start work on a native prairie. For now, it is white space but my gardener's eye sees a prairie alive with birds, bees, and butterflies.

The vegetable garden is coming along. I need to order heirloom seeds and get my seedling table and light set up downstairs.

I read an article in a British magazine about creating a potager, which is a french term for an ornamental kitchen garden. The goal of planting a potager is to make the vegetable garden aesthetically pleasing. My vegetable garden is planted with raised beds and wide rows. I want to start incorporating fruit trees, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and flowers with the vegetables, herbs, and salad greens that currently grow in my vegetable garden to create my own potager.

This winter I realized that I am not a houseplant aficionado.

My succulents are doing fine. I'd like to use them collectively to create a living design. Right now they are scattered in separate pots throughout the house. The daffodils I started indoors have not flowered. I'm going to need to move them to the seedling table so they get their fill of light and warmth. I received an orchid as a gift. The directions said to add three ice cubes a week to the pot. I've been doing that, and it keeps blooming. The Christmas amaryllis bloomed a month late. The red blooms are gorgeous and are still in full bloom.

To be honest, I like the look of houseplants when they fill up the porch in the summer. Even though I have them clustered on a few tables inside, they seem to be biding their time until they can be outside in the fresh air. I can relate.

Mary Pellerito can be reached at mary.pellerito@gmail.com

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