Warming up

A lot of people ask us what we do here in the winter. –A particularly legitimate question when the weather outside is as unpleasant as it has been this week as temperatures plunged and the wind whipped.

Ice and steam on Narragansett BayBitter-cold view of Bristol Harbor

We always answer, “a lot.” And luckily for Gail, Betsy, and me, most of it is inside-work. Holidays behind us (we still have to do some un-decorating…) we are switching gears to plan next year’s gardens; warming up to seed and plant ordering with idea and inspiration gathering sessions. I freely admit that what we’re doing looks a little more like leisure than work. In fact, we probably could thumb through magazines and bounce ideas and opinions back and forth just as productively with our toes buried in the sand of a Caribbean beach. –Gardeners who head south in January definitely have the right idea… But we discovered that on a sunny day, bitter cold outside or not, the new planthouse is the next best place for soaking up the sun and dreaming of a new year in the gardens. 

Idea gathering in the sunny and toasty-warm planthouse

We are finally taking the time to read this year’s stacks of Gardens Illustrated, Fine Gardening, and Horticulture magazines (do you set yours aside for winter too?); cruising through seed catalogs like Rare Seeds (Baker Creek), Plants of Distinction, and Johnny’s (just to name a few); and referring to books like Planting: A New Perspective by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury, Garden to Vase by Linda Beutler, and The Flower Arranger’s Garden by Rosemary Verey, among others. And although the work isn’t physically strenuous, it’s mentally exhausting and each of us has had to get up periodically to take “breaks” to move around the greenhouse and do some grooming, watering, and organizing.

Are you kicking back with magazines, books, and catalogs right now too? Do you have favorites for idea and inspiration gathering?