Last Friday there was a frost, but it was not a hard frost, so flowers kept on blooming. Yesterday – November 18 – that finally came to an end with a pouring rain that turned to snow that lingered instead of melting. So long, 2016 garden.
We’ve had cold weather and some snow this winter, but not much. Last week we got more than eight inches at once. I caught these flowers before the wind could blow off the snow.
white coneflowers from the top:
the coneflower’s tall “hats” are funny:
drifts so high in the vegetable garden that the rabbit fence is almost buried:
wind gusts blowing snow off pine branches:
It’s the first day of spring and while it’s still way too soon to start planting anything outdoors in Minnesota, it’s never too early to start planning.
Over the years I’ve acquired so many seed packets – hand-gathered and purchased, vegetables and flowers – that it will take awhile to organize them. Maybe I’ll have a plan by the time outdoor planting season rolls around.
Today is so bright and sunny that when I first woke up, I had a wild impulse to open the windows and let in fresh air. And then I looked out the window and saw the snow and realized that the thermometer said it was one below zero.
It’s the time of the year when it feels like winter will never end, when even though we’ve had less snow than normal, it’s been bitterly cold for weeks. So it’s a great day to instead stay inside and remember last year’s garden.
I planned today’s activity in advance, way back when the flowers were blooming and the days were long and warm: it’s finally time to look at the flowers I pressed at the end of last summer. They’ve been sleeping under a tall pile of books and magazines for several months.
Looking at these pretty flowers is a great reminder that seasons change and soon 2015’s first plants will be poking out of the ground. Spring officially begins in only 20 days.
Prairie Restorations held wreath-making events this winter, and my mom and I took the opportunity to visit the Scandia location for the first time. It was fun to shop in their store while we waited for class to begin, choosing a few Christmas gifts and picking out seeds for next year’s garden. I was excited to see what kinds of dried flowers they saved to decorate our wreaths.
We each started with basket full of greenery:
… and wired the sprigs to a wreath frame.
Then we got to pick out the “ingredients” from a table full of natural materials: pine cones, pine boughs, milkweed pods, little bluestem grasses, and more.
Each attendee’s wreath had a unique look:
Sumac was a popular choice since the red stands out so well against the greenery:
After about an hour, all that was left was a table full of pine needles and other scraps. It seemed like milkweed fluff was everywhere.
My mom’s pretty wreath:
My wreath ended up as a simple, asymmetrical design using little bluestem, milkweed pods, and sumac berries. I’m already thinking about what types of materials to save from my own 2015 garden for next year’s wreath.
Turtlehead stems, coneflower seedheads, giant hyssop stalks, goldenrod fluff, and hollyhock pods all look nice when dried. I don’t have any red plants, but I have plenty of pearly everlasting, whose white sprigs would be pretty on an evergreen wreath.