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.

joe-pye weed:

joe-pye weed covered in snow


turtlehead covered in snow

white coneflowers from the top:

white coneflowers covered in snow

the coneflower’s tall “hats” are funny:

white coneflower covered in snow

drifts so high in the vegetable garden that the rabbit fence is almost buried:

garden fence covered in snow

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.

a pile of flower and vegetable seed packets with handwritten plastic plant markers

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.

bee balm stems in winter

tall stack of books and magazinesIt’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.

flowers pressed between book pages
Zinnia, lobelia, and coreopsis after being pressed in tissue paper in a textbook


cosmos from the top and cosmos from the side


black-eyed susan
Black-eyed susan


calendula from the side and calendula from the top


white hollyhock
This white hollyhock is now translucent




back view of the same three zinnias
The backs of these three zinnias are even more interesting than the fronts because of the layered bracts


This iris (pressed during the spring) has lost most of its color


pearly everlasting
This pressed pearly everlasting is my favorite because of all of the seeds. Moving it makes a mess!


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:

basket full of evergreen boughs

… and wired the sprigs to a wreath frame.

a nearly-complete wreath of greenery

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.

a table full of natural wreath materials

Each attendee’s wreath had a unique look:

wreaths made by other attendees

Sumac was a popular choice since the red stands out so well against the greenery:

two wreaths made by other attendees

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.

leftover wreath materials - pine needles and sumac pieces

My mom’s pretty wreath:

Mom's 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.

my 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.