Opening day for the winter garden

There’s only so much I want to do outdoors while the snow is blowing and the temperatures drop.  It looks beautiful and we have plenty of cozy winter gear but unless I have a snow shoveling job to do I’d rather just admire the whiteness from inside the house.  So instead of bundling up, I dusted off the shop light and set up my little winter garden.  These cyclamen coum and cyclamen hederifolium are hardy enough to overwinter outdoors easily but I’m sure I’d miss them too much under the snow, so it’s nice to have them under lights and in the garage.  Plus with blooms starting, it’s time to give them a nicer spot than the dim, dusty windowsill.hardy cyclamen under lightsThe snowdrops also need more light,  I try to keep them back by holding them in the coolest corner of the garage but they have their own growing timetable.  The first of this bunch bloomed in November and now I’m happy to see the rest starting.  My apologies for the mess and dirt and less than attractive cardboard backdrop…. no Martha Stewart gardening here.potted galanthusLast winter’s cyclamen seedlings also appreciate the lighting.  They didn’t sprout until temperatures cooled in the fall but will now grow and reach a decent size for planting out next spring.cyclamen hederifolium seedlings

With the lights on, these cyclamen will get more regular watering and we’re going to pretend it’s spring 🙂  There are new blooms just under the gravel waiting to come up, and if it’s between looking outside and looking at this, I’ll take the flowers.cyclamen coum blossomNot a bad way to start off the new year.  It sure beats the -9F (-23C) I saw on my drive to work the other day.  Stay warm!

16 comments on “Opening day for the winter garden

  1. You have spring in your garage! I love it. I’ve never tried to grow cyclamen but I love them. Try and stay warm!!

  2. Cathy says:

    A snowdrop and it’s -23°C outside! Your cyclamen look great – good idea to bring spring indoors. Stay warm!

    • bittster says:

      I shivered my way through the garden before the deep freeze really hit, dropping clumps of shredded leaves on snowdrop sprouts and cyclamen leaves. They’re on their own now because I’m taking your advice and staying indoors where it’s warm!

  3. Pauline says:

    Such a good idea if you have deep snow which would cover them.We have seen weather reports of your snow and ice, do stay warm and cosy!

    • bittster says:

      Even when not covered, they can look so sad in the cold. I much prefer the happy indoor look!
      The cold wind today was brutal, even when bundled up my cheeks were in pain after less than two minutes outdoors… also I wish the rain the night before hadn’t melted all the protective snow cover….

  4. Annette says:

    How lovely to be able to warm the heart and keep up the spirits with these delicate blossoms, Frank! If you planted out the cyclamen how would it work out in your climate? When and for how long would you be able to enjoy them? When I lived in the Alps, there was no way I could have cyclamen because the growing season is way to short. Will you plant out yours later this year? Stay warm too – not to difficult here as we’re supposed to have about 15°C all week 🙂

    • bittster says:

      All of my plants would be perfectly hardy outdoors, and I do have them scattered around but they’re so much earlier and easier to admire in the garage. It’s the next best thing to a real greenhouse!
      Enjoy your mild winter. I guess it’s our turn to take all the ice and snow….

  5. I had to laugh, “pretend its Spring”. I think it is going to be a really long winter, courtesy of this recent arctic air storm. There might be a lot of “pretending” going on. Stay warm and I feel the same way about shoveling, rather just admire the snow, not turn it into a salty black mess.

    • bittster says:

      I kind of like a long, solid winter. Things don’t come into growth too early and then get zapped back by a late freeze. One of my least favorite winters involved a long warm December and January and then ice and snow all February and March. So many plants turned into soggy black messes.
      The ski resorts around here are loving this winter too, in the past they hoped for Christmas business, this year they were already up and running for Thanksgiving!

  6. Jason says:

    The cyclemen are lovely. We are waiting on some paperwhites and an amaryllis we have on the back porch (covered). -15 here at the moment, but fortunately my office is closed so we are having a day at home.

  7. Chloris says:

    I think it is a good idea to grow Cyclamen in pots even in milder climates. You need to be able to peer at them close to. Not only at the flowers but at the exquisite patterns on the leaves. I like your garden in a garage. Those seedlings are doing really well.

  8. bittster says:

    You’re absolutely right, I spend more time than I care to admit just rearranging the pots to get the nicest contrasts of foliage patterns and colors. And it’s not just the blooms and foliage, a few of the seedlings are supposed to be from fragrant parents, so I’m hoping to add fragrance to my winter garden treat!

  9. Christina says:

    I like the idea of spring in your garage. Cyclamen are lovely – flowers and foliage, I have some in a pot outside by back door, they always make me smile when I go in or out.

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