Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shoveling Snow

There are certain outdoor tasks that some of us find certain comfort in doing----alone! My dear friend Liz, of This Full House, loses herself in the drone of her lawn mower. A customer from Brick who visited this past spring almost hugged me when I let it be known how much I enjoy pulling weeds. She seemed relieved to know she wasn't alone in finding solace in an activity most find so abhorrent. With no weeds to pull, no iris or peony plants to divide, or mulch to spread, I need an outlet for that pent up energy (house work doesn't do it for me!). Mother Nature has provided that niche for me. Snow has fallen at Pittsgrove Farms on a regular basis this winter, giving me numerous opportunities to get outside and keep those muscles from getting lazy.

Shoveling snow is an activity I have enjoyed since I was a kid. My dad, one of the sweetest men who ever lived, worked shift work and when winter dumped a layer of snow in our driveway, I would shovel either so he could get up and go off on his midnight to 8 AM shift, or find a clean drive when he arrived home from a 4-11:00. I especially enjoy shoveling at night when my only companions are the stars in the moonlit sky, or first thing in the morning when early sunlight sparkles like diamonds on the new fallen snow. Even the sound of the shovel rhythmically scraping back and forth, back and forth brings a peace, and the air that I breathe has such purity.

Well, the snow is shoveled until the next storm and it's time to refill the bird feeders, but before I go I just want to let all of you New York Metro folks know about Plant-O-Rama at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden that will take place next Tuesday, January 27. Check it out to get your gardening fix until things begin to thaw.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Curl Up With a Good Book

Happy New Year and belated holiday greetings to all. As you can tell, all my blogging efforts went on the back burner for a long time and I hope your holiday celebrations were as enjoyable as ours.

We were delighted to have my cousin and her daughter from Australia, daughter and granddaughter of the "Pagan Dancers"(see September 15, 2008 blog) spend Christmas with us and it was interesting to see their reaction to places and things that we so take for granted. For example, upon seeing the rink at Rockefeller Center, Denise's reaction was "Is that it??? It looks ten times larger in the movies and on TV!!!" But she was thoroughly impressed by the tree. And she was equally amazed that in the States the mailman not only delivers your mail, but will pick up any to be sent. Guess we shouldn't complain as much about the postage!

Denise and Rhiannon must be happy to be back in warmer climes now that winter has taken a nasty turn here. We awoke to 4 degrees this AM and may see temperatures go below 0 tomorrow morning, which gives us a good reason to light the wood stove and curl up with a good book. There are a few that we have read and keep on hand as reference books that we would like to recommend until we get a bit of a thaw and all you avid gardeners are able to get your hands dirty again.

The World of Irises by Warburton and Hamblen and published by The American Iris Society provides a wealth of information and encompasses the worlds of bearded, beardless, and lesser known varieties. It is a must have reference for the serious iris enthusiast's book shelf. The beautifully illustrated The Gardener's Iris Book by William Shear is full of excellent advise on the selection, care and propagation of irises.

For you peony lovers, Peonies by Allan Rogers and The Gardener's Peony-Herbaceous and Tree Peonies by Martin Page are books that John and I have used extensively. Both contain beautiful color plates and information about the wide variety of peonies available as well as their culture.

Head to your library or local book store, pick up one of the above volumes, or peruse the shelves for any other gardening book of your choosing, then over the winter you can dream of the fantastic additions you can make to your gardens come spring.