Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Enjoying a Couple of Winter Gardening Activities


I don't go outside much when the weather is this cold; it was -1°F (-18 C) a couple of nights ago and not much warmer during the day. Fortunately, I don't need to leave the house as my sweet husband is more than willing to take care of the goats and do the grocery shopping. (He gets cabin fever more often than me and I suspect he enjoys running to Shoprite because there he bumps into so many people that he knows.) Although a non-gardener, Duane has an eye for a plant bargain. The other day he found a good deal on hyacinth bulbs in bulb glasses. He brought one home to check with me that they were OK, then went back to buy two more. I put them in a sunny window in a cool-ish bedroom. They just started to bloom. They are a very pretty pink with a delicate perfume. I love them!


Growing a hyacinth bulb in a clear glass jar is a lot of fun.
Aren't they pretty?
Two of the amaryllis bulbs that I forced this year. The pink one is Double Aphrodite and the red one is Double Double King


I purchased my amaryllis bulbs online from Longfield Gardens. If you have never forced bulbs you really should give it a try--it is so easy.  This is what I did. I potted them individually in 6-7" pots using a well-drained potting mix. I added water to the mix and stirred until it was moist but not soggy. I filled each pot about half full, set the bulb on top and filled in with additional mix. A third of the bulb should be exposed and the top of the mix should be 1/2" below the rim to allow for watering. I firmed the mix and watered lightly.

I placed the pots where the temperature remains above 60° F. and I water only when the top inch of the mix is dry--or the bulb may rot. Growth usually begins in 2-8 weeks. When growth begins the plants need ample sunshine so I place them in a south-facing window.

Once my amaryllis blooms, I take it out of the sunlight and put it in a less sunny, cooler spot, so the flowers will last longer. My dining-room table is a good place.


I am enjoying this funky pink and white striped amaryllis. It is called Double Doublet. 
Poinsettias left over from my Christmas display

It's not just the cold that is keeping me inside--the ice makes walking treacherous. The ice and icicles look very pretty on my shrubs, however, but I wish I had sprayed them with an anti-desiccant before the cold weather to prevent winter injury and water loss from the foliage. I am especially concerned about the weeping spruce next to the pond. The winter weather is brutal this year.

 The ice and icicles on the globe arborvitae look very pretty

We had three or four inches of snow. The 'naked lady', as my grand children call her, looks very cold.

I didn't check the brassicas in the coldframes today. The Brussel sprouts were looking great the last time that I lifted the lids.


Those who have been following my blog for the past 14 years or so will know that I love watching the backyard birds in the winter months. My husband set up a heated water dish and a birdfeeder with suet and bird seed. He placed them outside the French doors in clear view from my chair in the garden room. (He removes them when the black bears come out of hibernation.)

View from my chair.


I am able to get some good photographs through that window. Here are a few I took this week ....

Male cardinal waiting for his turn at the heated water dish.
Blue jay and male cardinal at the water dish

This red-bellied woodpecker was eating seed that was spilled under the birdfeeder

That red-bellied woodpecker came right up onto the porch.

Left and bottom right: Tufted titmouse, Top right: Carolina wren.

This year the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is February 18-21. This is its 25th year. I always look forward to this fun and easy event. Join in if you haven't done so before--whether you are an expert, a novice, or a feeder watcher, you can count for as little as 15 minutes. Click HERE for more information about the count and about a free webinar.


Something I forgot to mention in my last posting: When we were in the gift shop at Longwood Gardens I found my friend's new book on display. Mary-Kate Mackey's The Healthy Garden, that she wrote with Kathleen Brenzel, is a lovely book. Of course, I had to buy it.  I'll review it in a future post.

Stay safe and well. And if you live in a climate like mine -- stay warm!


Pamela x

I brought this brave primrose indoors before the ground froze.


I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited. 

I look forward to visiting your blog in return.



  1. We stayed home last winter, and I forced bulbs and had a great time. Your bird photos are wonderful. I especially love the Cardinal. Hope your temps warm up a little, but it sounds like you have a good plan in place to get things done that need to be done.

    1. I feel I am a bit behind with planning my next season's garden. I need to evaluate last year's efforts and order seeds. More fun winter activities.

  2. Love hyacinths. I really must find some to brighten my winter windowsills. Your pictures of the outdoors make me cold just to look at them. We are actually having some quite cold (relatively speaking) weather here just now. I had to run some errands today and got a chance to actually wear one of my heavy sweaters, something that doesn't happen very often.

    1. You may think it's cold in Florida, Dorothy, but I'm about ready to move there with you.

  3. Those photos of the woodpecker are fabulous, how wonderful to have him visiting. I love hyacinths though I haven't bought any yet this year, the scent is gorgeous so I must rectify that. I do have an amaryllis growing which I was bought for Christmas but it's way behind yours, still a long way to go before it blooms. It looks like you've got some cold weather, your garden looks beautiful covered with snow, though I'm not a fan of the freezing temperatures either. It's been very mild here so far this winter.

    1. The woodpeckers here are quite stunning, but I do miss the little English robin!

  4. I haven’t been out in the cold garden either, not much to see. I’d like to feed the pretty birds, but we are being overrun with greedy starlings lately, and I don’t want to encourage them. The trouble is the pesty street trees, ornamental pears of course. They had a huge crop of fruit this year, and it has been a mess, which the starlings love.

  5. Your garden is beautiful in wintertime and I love all your indoor blooms as well. The snow is finally starting to melt a little here with some warmer temperatures and rain. Spring will be here soon…just six weeks to go!

  6. Your have your life arranged comfortably. I would be Oh SO grateful not to have to go out into that weather!