Thursday, January 14, 2010

Winter Greetings

Hi everyone!
I don't know about you, but I'm actually glad that the holidays are over, the Christmas ornaments are packed away, and I am settling into my winter routine at last. It is a mixed blessing. The opportunity to spend time in my home office writing, studying, researching, and preparing for classes is something I love and look forward to each year. The bone chilling cold (which seems harder to take the older I get) and the bareness of the winter landscape gets to me sometimes, I admit it. On Saturday, I finally threw out the 5 week old cut Star of Bethlehem flowers, my first batch of paper white narcissus, and vases filled with dried up greens. Expecting company, I wandered around outside looking for something,
anything, to place around the house to dress it up. Slim pickins! A few bright red twigs of shrubby dogwood, some Sciadopitys tips, some Andromeda buds. Time to force some more bulbs!

My orders for seeds, bulbs, and plants for spring are placed and confirmed. This week I am beginning to attend trade shows and educational seminars to further MY understanding of this business and learn about new plants and organic products. I am so excited to be taking two workshops with Michael Dirr, the famous author of our The Manual of Woody Landscape Plants,a.k.a. "The Bible" in our business. After speaking on Edible Landscaping, I head up to Massachusetts to teach my segment of the Organic Land Care Certification Course. Next week I am tasked with producing the Catalog Supplement. My office staff expects me to be done by January 21st. It's nose-to-the grindstone time for me.

The REAL reason for this email is to remind you that
January 26th is the start of the Natureworks Classes. Have you signed up yet? Did you glance at the brochure before the holidays and say "yup, I'll get to that after the New Year?" Well, that time is NOW! Click on the Class links on the left of this letter and fax or mail in your registration today. I have spent many snowy days sorting out thousands of digital photos that I took in 2009. Every class is getting updated with fresh images and there are many new classes to entice you. The best way for a gardener to survive a winter like this is to take lots of classes with friends and relatives. Treat yourself to some new gardening books. Join the fellowship of others who share your love of the natural world.

Dave (of the gardening crew) has been gathering curbside Christmas trees and chopping them up. He is about to spread cut evergreen boughs on our clients gardens that have been newly planted, recently rearranged, or are in rockery areas with shallow soil. Now that the snow has become a thin layer or melted away from some areas, our goal is to cover the earth with these boughs, thus keeping the sun off the ground and insuring that it STAYS FROZEN for the next two months. Alternate freezing and thawing of the ground causes plants to heave up, subjecting their roots to deadly freezing temperatures. There is a
very narrow window of opportunity right now to do this chore.

The Class Brochure also lists other off-site events that I will be speaking at or where I will be setting up a vendor booth and selling books, seeds, and plants. On Saturday February 6th I will be a the CT Horticultural Society's all day symposium
Spring into the Garden. The keynote speaker is Dan Hinkley, renowned plantsman and founder of the former Heronswood Nursery and Garden in Washington state. I own and have devoured his book The Explorer's Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials. His newest book from Timber Press is The Explorer's Garden: Shrubs and Vines from Four Corners of the World. Workshops on Creating Unusual Floral Designs with William Graham and Incorporating Herbs into Gardens and Landscapes with Kathy and Jack Donohue round out the day. For details and a registration form, please call the CHS office at 860-529-8713 or visit

It may be cold and our beloved plants may be sleeping, but the world of gardening is HOT with classes, symposiums, new plant introductions, books, and inspiration galore. Drag yourself out of your cocoon and join the fun. I hope to see you in the classroom or at an event very soon!