Winter Has Arrived; Is Now the Time to Buy Plants?

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My daughter’s have been encouraging me to continue expand my plant collection, and this may be the time to do it.

I spent part of the morning on the first day of winter sitting on a roof, watching the leaves fall down in the breeze. I was up on the roof to clear off a heavy coating of leaves. The pitch of my roof is not too great, so I do not want the damage that might ensue from having a pile of leaves sitting there. Looking down at the garden, I was reminded that I still had to complete an edging project. My two year old, Sakura, and I left for the local garden center in the home improvement center to find some hardscape elements. With the possibility of freezes, I was not looking for plants, and I know that many hardscape items are quite cheap now. I needed (well, wanted) a garden edging for my front bed to make a clean edge along the sidewalk. Sakura had other plans. She fell in love with the picture of the flower on a camellia bush. She immediately pulled two small bushes out for the cart.
   I love camellias, but I have had problems with them. Mainly, my misfortunes with the plant stem from my dog and his backyard adventures. I have shied away from the plant for many years now. Sakura was determined though. She wanted this plant. Looking at the price, I decided that this is not so bad. In fact, plant prices are lower this time of year. Walking around the plants, I found several that I would like to have, but I know that this is not the time to purchase, like ornamental grasses. The weather report indicates that we will have a few days with freezing temperatures, which will harm new plantings. One tactic that I have employed is to buy the plant, but keep them inside the house. The camellias were planted in a protected spot, since Sakura wanted to work in her garden space. She smiled and gave the plants hugs.
    I think that I will go to my local nursery to see what is on offer. If there are good deals, I can store these in the house. Katya, the older daughter, did buy Gerber daisies that added color to our porch, so why not to the home? My habit is to allow the plants to go through their cycle, so I do not cover them to protect them from the frost. I choose plants that hopefully do well in this climate. I do not mind if a plant goes dormant; I like the appearance. Even though we have experienced a few days of freezing temperature, my garden has faired well. A few coleus died, but many survived, and I am already propagating for next year ( just cut the coleus and stick the stem in water). The blackberry vine had signs of damage, but it is going strong, and I know that I will have more fruit next year. I have been concerned about the newly planted avocado tree, Katya’s favorite. So far, so good, so I am happy. This is the one plant that I might protect from the cold front coming through this week.
    I look forward to the cold, because this will change the flavors of my vegetables. Most have a cabbage like taste, but frost causes a change in flavor in plants like kale. I have harvested kohlrabi but I think that the cold may improve the flavor of this vegetable as well. The one planting that will take place today is the garlic. I started my garlic in pots, but with this freeze, I want them in the ground. My bay leaves are quite fragrant. Is this due to the exposure to cold? I am not sure, but my soup and stews are benefiting from these fresh leaves.

    If you are looking to save money, you may want to look for a few plants, as long as you have the space to store them. Shade plants are my goal, since I have a deeply shaded area that I want to complete. Who am I kidding; the garden will never be complete.

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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