John Zvirovski, Sun Garden Editor
Every winter many people comment how they would like to have blooming plants within the home to add a little color. More often than not, these plants that bloom indoors only have flowers that last a short time, but there are some out there that can last quite awhile and don't take a lot of intense care. These are the types of houseplants that people always tend to gravitate toward.
It may seem early, but spring will be here before we know it, and we will have to begin plans on what to plant in the garden. Every year presents a new challenge as there are always new things on the market that many of us like to try. Not every good thing for the garden needs to be a new product; older plants continue to make their mark in the horticultural field with their many wonderful attributes. This is one of the reasons some of the die hards of the past continue to thrive in the plant pallet today such as peonies, iris, liatris, daylilies and cone flowers to name just a few.
This past week we experienced a weather phenomenon not overly common in our neck of the woods. An ice storm only occurs in our area once every decade or so, as our winter temperatures are usually fairly low and stable. Sure, we get freezing rain on occasion and maybe some heavy fog that can frost over the roads and local vegetation, but an ice storm is different. The true definition of an ice storm is the accumulation of ice in excess of more than a quarter of an inch.
The holiday season brings with it many memories. Grand events that only happen during this time of year include the lighting of the town tree, caroling from door to door for a little camaraderie (like that happens anymore), the scrumptious treats of eggnog toddies or roasted chestnuts, and the all-time kid favorite of a red and white candy cane.
Every year we see the holiday season arrive with the traditional colors of red and green. Where did these colors come from and what do they represent? The color of green is the luckiest color and it represents good fortune and prosperity. It is also the color of envy or the color of life in the environmental world.
After some beautiful autumn weather, the cooler conditions have returned. This is usually the time when we get more moisture and colder evenings. An autumn frost is imminent at this point with a killing frost not far behind. As much as I love to take every beautiful moment in as much as possible, there are always things to do. However, this past week I found my projects are all up to date, and it allowed me to take in the yard once again to enjoy everything that still is happening around me.
This past week autumn arrived and so did the appropriate weather of cool air and rain. Whether it will stay or not is always up in the air, but I am guessing we will have a few more warm spells before the season finally changes. It is the time of year we notice many changes in all the areas around us. One of those changes is the migration of the birds that will begin within the next month. But it is not only the birds that migrate, but the monarch butterfly also migrates south.
The evenings are beginning to get a chill in the air, and one can almost smell the scent of autumn lingering. It seems odd to look through the garden and find a clump of white iris blooming at this time of year. Well, this just happens to be one of the many types of reblooming iris that blooms in spring and again in fall. As nice as it is to see during this time of year, it also puts spring a little more into perspective.
It is always fun to try different plant materials in the garden that resemble "hard to grow" or non-native plants for our region. I have heard many comments about the lisianthus plants in the yard and how they resembled roses. Since I have grown these in the yard for years, I have taken them for granted with their unique qualities that seem so new to other people. It actually opened my eyes to the realization of why I plant this annual in the garden every year—because their flowers are so beautiful and dynamic!
On a recent trip to Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, a horticultural devastation became very apparent from the tracks of a train. What we use to hear about Dutch elm disease is now trading places with the emerald ash borer killing ash trees in 23 U.S. states so far.