Act now for winter color

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Steven Schwager, our Garden Manager, will be on hand at our Wander and Wonder Pop-Up Marketplace on Saturday, October 3, to give you personal advice on choosing houseplants and seasonal favorites on sale to brighten your space. Join us out in The Shop courtyard from 10 am to 5 pm!

With the scorching weather we’ve been having and more forecast to come, it’s hard to believe that cooler weather is around the corner.  But it’s not too early to start planning for your winter garden.

It’s always a pleasure to see color in the garden during our rainy winters.  Pansies and violas (both Viola tricolor) love the cooler weather and come in almost any color imaginable. 

Winter is also a great time to plant many varieties of vegetables that actually prefer the cooler weather.  Most Brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.) hate the heat and will bolt quickly if the weather is too warm.  With sun lower on the horizon, perhaps your vegetable patch is shadier this time of year.  Try growing some greens—chard, kale, mustard greens can all be grown with less sunlight.   Many root crops like radishes, beets and carrots grow more slowly but will reward you next spring with sweet succulent crops.

 Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) also do well through our winters and can add height to your planting bed.  Calendula is also happiest when weather cools down and they can add not only sunny yellow and orange, but also in various shades of pink and white.  If you’d like to try something a bit more unusual, plant Diascia.  These are covered with clouds of flowers and are also available in a wide variety of colors in both bright and pastel shades.

If gardening in the cold doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps try your hand at indoor gardening.  If you have a sunny spot you can grow herbs including basil, rosemary, thyme and parsley.  A sunny room is also a great place to grow succulents.  For a fun change of pace, grow a Tillandsia in your bathroom.  These air plants don’t need soil and thrive in the humid atmosphere as they take water in through their leaves. 

If your home is shaded by evergreen trees there is a wide variety of houseplants that do well in lower light levels.  One favorite is Zamioculcus zamiifolia, otherwise known as the Z.Z. plant.  This plant has glossy dark green foliage and an architectural form.  Adding houseplants has the extra advantage of purifying the air while we’re cooped up inside with the doors and windows shut.

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