Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens
Inspirational Gardens

Winter 2018 Newsletter

January 22nd, 2018 | Posted by John Rice in Newsletter - (Comments Off on Winter 2018 Newsletter)

November was cold and dry, a dramatic change from the very mild and wet October.  December was really cold and dry. Regarding the cold weather that we are currently having as we move into the new year:  as long as your plant material has 6-7” of snow on their roots, the plant should be fine.  If the roots are not protected by the relatively warm layer of snow (32 degrees), I recommend you do cover the roots with snow.  There also maybe some leaf damage from the strong winds desiccating the leaves on our broadleaf evergreens.   One nice thing about how this cold weather came in is that there has been no temperature rollercoaster to fool the plants, it got cold and stayed cold. The forecast is for winter the next 2 weeks of January and then milder the last half of the month. Precipitation is forecasted to be above average, which will be welcomed.  Enjoy our cold season!

In the heart of winter, here are some things to consider for your property:

  • Winter pruning of your shrubs and trees. This is the best time of year to do it. See attachment if you are interested.
  • Wood chipping your piles of branches. You can use the woodchips as weed suppression immediately, making trails, or as mulch in a year.
  • Taking down your holiday decorations.
  • Spraying an anti-desiccant on your evergreens to prevent winterkill on their branches.
  • Fertilizing/adding repellant to your spring bulbs so they all come up beautiful in the spring.
  • Protecting your evergreen shrubs and conifers from being eaten by deer by using sprays or netting.
  • Cutting down invasives or bramble (i.e. bittersweet) off trees and shrubs to prevent winter weight damage and for invasive control.
  • Starting a wish list of plants for your garden.
  • Moving houseplants to brighter windows.
  • Cutting stems of pussy willow and forsythia for indoor vases in February & March

Please contact me if you have any questions or if you are interested in using my services at 978.274.5633.

Happy New Year!

Thank you for your business and for your trust.


Sophia update:  She got braces over the holiday. It is interesting, young people today have a much more positive outlook about braces than I remember growing up! Nice to see.

Observation:  On Christmas morning I was looking out one of my windows at the snow falling and could see many songbirds eating seeds on perennials and shrubs right during the snowstorm, not even paying attention to the snow. It was fun and rewarding to watch.

Climate Change: This was the craziest fall yet. After the mild and wet October, gardens were still flowering and happy going into November, lawns were still being mowed and fall cleanups were happening for the trees that did drop their leaves (could be drought related or just the length of season) while many trees were still hanging onto their leaves.  Then winter came. It was the shortest fall clean up season I have ever had.  Also of note, in looking at my journals the growing season is about 3-4 weeks longer now than 20 years ago.


Some Poems:


 In winter
all the singing is in
the tops of the trees
where the wind-bird

              with its white eyes
shoves and pushes
among the branches.
Like any of us

                                        he wants to go to sleep,
but he’s restless—
he has an idea,
and slowly it unfolds

                                        from under his beating wings
as long as he stays awake.
But his big, round music, after all,
is too breathy to last.

                                        So, it’s over.
In the pine-crown
he makes his nest,
he’s done all he can.

                                        I don’t know the name of this bird,
I only imagine his glittering beak
tucked in a white wing
while the clouds —

                                        which he has summond
from the north—
which he has taught
to be mild, and silent—

                                        thicken, and begin to fall
into the world below
like stars, or the feathers
of some unimaginable bird

                                        that loves us,
that is asleep now, and silent—
that has turned itself
into snow.

                                        Mary Oliver

The Presence of Trees

I have always felt the living presence
of trees
the forest that calls to me as deeply
as I breathe,
as though the woods were marrow of my bone
as though
I myself were tree, a breathing, reaching
arc of the larger canopy
besides a brook bubbling to foam
like the one
deep in these woods,
that calls
that whispers home

Michael S Glaser


I prune my lime tree
under the luminous moon
of the early evening. The citrus
smell of broken leaves
is pungent and wonderful.
I know the cutting will make
the tree stronger, more beautiful.
It trusts me and responds to the pain,
for already, even the order of shaping
has produced a different mood for us;
the discarded sprigs on the ground
ring the tree like a variegated lime lei,
my offering to this faithful tree,
my promise that things will change between us.

As I pause in the process –
breathe, observe, feel –
I encounter the tree, ceasing
to be an “it” and transforming
itself into Buber’s “thou.”
In this new, reciprocal relationship,
we move toward holiness, the tree and I,
as I whisper, “You, tree.”

Johanna Herrick