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Winter 2020 at JF&GC

"Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle ...

a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. 

And the anticipation nurtures our dream."

~ Barbara Winkler

Strawberry plants, popping up through the leaf mulch.

This winter has been an interesting one, temperature wise. Starting with below average temperatures rising to the low and mid seventies and now back to more seasonal weather. You may have noticed that your garden had begun to wake up from the winter cold only to retreat back into dormancy. Early spring blooming crocus and hellebores bloomed and quince shrubs with swollen buds and a smattering of blooms are realizing that winter is not quite finished. While the mild weather may have felt wonderful, colder winter temperatures are important for the health of our gardens and environment. 

Colder temperatures and shorter daylight hours require the majority of trees and plants in our region to go dormant. Dormancy allows the plant to protect itself during cold weather by storing vital nutrients, carbohydrates, and water in their root systems. We have seen the result of an early freeze before a tree has gone into dormancy. Freezing water in the outer layers of bark on trees can create cracks and splits in trunks. (This article from the Morton Arboretum explains different types of winter injuries to trees.) Freezes in late March, April, and even May can kill flower buds resulting in fruit trees not bearing fruit and spring bulbs without blooms. Even though we may complain when we pull on a pair of gloves and put a hat on, a cold winter always makes a warming spring even the more welcome. We enjoy and appreciate the flush of new growth in our gardens with a smile on our faces and a sigh in our hearts. Ah spring, at least. Alas, we are a couple months away from spring. Don’t despair, take pleasure in the winter landscape. Each season has its own beauty and magic. Bundle up and go for a walk to see the beauty that is winter. Winter will pass by before we know it and our environment will once again wake up and bloom. 


Winter Gardening

Early Blooming Hellebore

The skeleton of your garden is visible during winter, allowing you an easy view of your space. Take this time to contemplate your garden. What do you like? What could you do without? Maybe this is the year you add a small herb or vegetable garden? Perhaps you would like to plant a tree? Winter is the perfect time to study your space and what you want out of it. Your neighbor may love roses, but that doesn’t mean you need to match their rose garden. A garden is a space to be enjoyed. Create a garden that best reflects your desires. Take yourself on field trips to local parks and gardens to learn more and gain inspiration. Winter is a perfect time to learn more about plants and garden design. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, as well as our local extension services and parks are wonderful resources. If it is just too cold to go outside then grab a few garden magazines and books to read. A few of our favorite garden magazines are Horticulture, Birds & Blooms, and Fine Gardening. Find inspiration in seed catalogs, pinterest, and Houzz. Another great way to learn more about plants and gardening is listening to podcasts. Podcasts are an easy way to learn while doing other activities, especially cleaning or during your commute to work. Store manager, Tony Works’ In & Around The House podcast is a store favorite. Cultivating Place is a wonderful podcast filled with stories on plants, gardens, & history. Plant specific episodes can be found on On The Ledge and In Defense of Plants. However you engage with your garden this winter, we hope that it is filled with knowledge and inspiration. 

"There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of any winter. 

One is the January thaw. 

The other is the seed catalogues."

~ Hal Borland


Grow Indoors

"From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens

- the garden outdoors, the garden of pots and bowls in the house,

and the garden of the mind's eye.”

~ Katherine S. White 

The weather outside may not be ideal for planting, so why not plant indoors? You don’t need a large greenhouse to grow plants. A sunny windowsill can be turned into a lovely spot for starting seeds. Herbs, leafy greens, sprouts, micro greens, and tropical house plants can all be grown and flourish indoors. You can start seeds in seedling specific containers, reuse old plastic containers and pots, or make your own seedling pots with toilet paper rolls. If you have the space you can add a grow light and seedling specific heat mats to create the optimal sprouting environment. We have everything you need to start seeds at home. Follow along on our garden center blog to see some basil seeds sprout and grow. 

Happy House Plants

Do you have house plants? Are you concerned about their current lackluster status? Don’t worry, with a few simple tips your house plants will live their best winter. To learn more on winter house plant care visit our blog and read this article from Get Busy Gardening.  


Fresh Cut Flowers for Your Love

Create a lasting memory of your love with fresh cut flowers. Each arrangement is created by our team of professional florists. Choose from predesigned pieces or let our florists create a unique arrangement. Valentine's Day is Friday, February 14th. Don't delay on ordering fresh flowers for your loved ones. Visit our website, call, or stop in today. We are ready to help you with all your floral needs, including local delivery.


Feathered Friends

Winterizing your yard for our avian friends will not only provide a safe and friendly environment for the birds, but also provide you with enjoyment throughout the cold months and into the warm. 

A few simple steps will encourage birds to stop at your home. Clean dirty bird feeders and bird baths. Discard old seed, particularly if it appears to be growing mold. Birds have more difficulty in finding fresh drinking water during the winter months. Maintain clean birdbaths and refill them frequently. Don't forget to keep those bird feeders filled. We have a variety of seed and suet, as well as feeders and houses for you to peruse. 

The National Audubon Society is a treasure trove of information on birds, bird care, and bird watching. To learn more about local events the Society holds visit their local chapter's website.


Wishing you a warm winter filled with house plants and seed catalogues.

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