December 6, 2009

First measurable snow, time to prune!

I keep a number of large topiaried shrubs in the collection, mainly for decorative use, but as you can see here, they have planting of other uses, mainly the Bay Laurels, Rosemary's and Olive trees. If you live in California or Spain, then it may not seem like a very big deal, but here in New England, such plants will freeze to death, if not provided protection under glass. This is the only way I can maintain such large specimens of Rosemary and Bay Laurel, for if kept in the hot, dry climate of a house, they will soon dry up, in the hot, dry air that winter ensures we all have indoors.

Every autumn, it's a struggle, and I am sure that the year will come, when I cannot drag the large tubs in from the garden, even this year, it looked as if I was going to just bite it, and let our plant, we call, 'The Largest Gardenia in New England" just go the way of many other tropicals, since I tore a tendon ( again) in my arm, and I am not supposed to be lifting anything. But as things usually go with us gardeners, everything has made it back into the greenhouse, at the very last minute, since this weekend marked our first snow fall with measurable amounts ( only 4"). but it's coming.

The Bay Laurels. which we started as cutting received from the late Alan Haskell, are close the 12 years old, now. I think, every 4 years or so, I will have to cut them back hard, if not only to keep the busy and dense, but to keep them in scale, and, at a manageable size. As you can see from the greenhouse behind me, this hard cut, was needed. Besides, now, I have loads of fragrant bay leaves with which I can make Holiday wreaths from ( great gifts). Probably even a garland, for our kitchen.

This olive tree, which we keep merely as an ornamental plant, came as another small Holiday plant, which was being sold in New York City at the now defunct Smith & Hawken company store on West Broadway. Now, about 8 years later, it's a tree, and it even has some olives on it. I keep this outdoors until the weather becomes very cold, and when the temperatures start to dip into the low 20's (F), I bring it back into the greenhouse along with it's friends, the Rosemary's.

I know I said that I was going to keep more Rosemary shrubs outside to die this year, and I even took two trays of cuttings, so that I would have all of my favorite varieties ready as small plants in the spring. But....... I found more room! SO, they are coming back in again. Still, I am trimming them hard, not sure if this will work with them, but if they don't survive, than I can call it a day. It just that I keep thinking of Renny, our Carolina Wren who visits the garden in the summer and who loves to court amongst the big rosemary pots that surround the bird house pole. he would want them, right?

I've reduced the size of this estate gardenia to about 3 feet in diameter. I would imagine that Gardenia's enjoy a hard cut every now and then, but this one required lopping sheers. The pot, is the largest container in the greenhouse, it is nearly 4 and a half feet wide, and full of wet soil! It weighs a TON! Yes, it too was dragged in again. Now, we await the deliver of our new heater, since the wrong one arrived. If everyone in the world could call Griffin Greenhouse Company and tell them to scurry it up...it's been two weeks since they visited, and now we can't get ahold of them. Sometimes, it's tough being a hobby grower, and being required to buy supplies from the large wholesale distributors. I think we just get pushed to the bottom of the list. Yet, the head of sales, was kind enough to drive out himself a few weeks ago, and promised to help us. Yet we still have not heard back from him.

Now, I have to hear out old heater go KABOOM, ever 16 minutes, and the gas ignites randomly in the damp, cold air. One of these times, it's going to blow the whole greenhouse up, and who will I blame? The Gas company that wont come to clean it? The Furnace manufacturer who sent us the wrong furnace? The Greenhouse supply company who is daudling, and taking 3 months to come replace our heater? Mother Nature for bringing us cold damp, snowy weather? ( no not her, we have had the warmest November since 1923). I don't know, but I can her the furnace exploding from the office here, and I am on the other side of the house! Last night, it took a Lorazapam topped off with a Manhattan, to calm my nerves, and to block our the explosions. Ugh. Me thinks me ranted.


  1. Kabooming furnaces are never a good sound. Good luck with your issues.

  2. "since I tore a tendon ( again) in my arm, and I am not supposed to be lifting anything."

    Hope you did not over do it and the furnace gets there soon. We are in the middle of a snow/ice/rain event so I can imagine you may be experiencing something soon too.

    Good luck!

  3. watch those Lorazapams...good luck with you furnace!!


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