Flower Growing in The North

Flower Growing in The North

by George Luxton

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“MY LOVE for the earth and the things that grow in it began many years ago in Grandma’s garden and on her little farm near London, Ontario. And with the love for the earth came the knowledge gained from the rich store of Grandma’s gardening experience. Her eyes were keen and her wit was sound; what I learned from her was fundamentally true and has stood me in good stead over the years.

To Grandma’s knowledge I have added gleanings from other amateur gardeners and hints from useful books and magazines. I have profited from lectures at our University of Minnesota and from memberships in garden clubs and societies. Perhaps by far the most important experience was gained in my own garden.

The other amateurs who have aided me are numberless. Many of them have written to me after reading my column in the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune to add their own ideas to mine. Their suggestions I have found very valuable, and my heart has been warmed by their interest and their eagerness to share.

Many professional gardeners — including nurserymen, florists, and seed experts who have hastened to inform me of new discoveries in the horticultural world—have also been of immense help. Among them are Dr. Leon C. Snyder, head of the Department of Horticulture at the University of Minnesota, and members of the department, including O. C. Turnquist, J. D. Winter, R. E. Widmer, R. J. Stadtherr, C. G. Hard, and A. E. Hutchins. Carl Hoist, rosarian of the Minneapolis municipal rose garden at Lyndale Park, has shared with me his priceless knowledge of roses.”



HERE in the North, January is usually the coldest winter month. Heavy snows and subzero cold keep us indoors most of the time, yet an ardent gardener can already see signs that spring is not too far away. The shortest day of winter is past and very gradually the days grow longer. Every day the sun is brighter and warmer as it climbs higher in the sky. Christmas and the winter holidays are over, and in a few weeks the seed and nursery catalogs will be arriving.


With Christmas over, the discarded Christmas tree can still bring pleasure and be of use outdoors. As soon as the needles seem dry and begin to drop, get the tree outside quickly. Indoors it can be a fire hazard and burn with almost explosive force. Outdoors you can set it up on the most sheltered side of the house as a bird feeding station.

Another use for your discarded Christmas tree — or you might ask your neighbor to give you his — is for completing the winter protection of your roses.
Last fall you should have hilled a mound of earth around the base of each rosebush to protect the roots. When this hilled earth is solidly frozen — but preferably before the snow covers the ground — it is time for the next step in their winter protection: covering the hilled mounds and the space between them with an insulating mulch, not to keep the roses warm but to keep them cold and at as even a temperature as possible. It is the alternate thawing and freezing of late winter and early spring that damages the roots.

A heavy blanket of marsh hay, straw, or excelsior is fine for this purpose or a good covering of dry leaves if you happen to have some cached away. Oak leaves are best because they don’t mat readily. Whatever material you use, the covering should be from 6 to 10 inches deep and should be held in place by chicken wire or light branches. It is well to include some mothballs to discourage rodents. Evergreen boughs make a good cover because they not only hold in the frost but also permit ventilation, thus preventing mildew.

If a heavy snowfall comes before you have covered the hilled roses, don’t worry. Keep your mulching material stored and ready for use, and when a period of mild, thawing weather arrives you can apply the protective layer of mulch.

A deep blanket of snow can be a wonderful protective cover, though unlike leaves or hay, it can’t be counted on to stay put. But deep snow may bring other problems. Rabbits, squirrels, and mice may become very destructive because their usual food is almost unobtainable, and raise havoc with your woody plants. During very severe winter weather, with deep snow, the rodents sometimes will burrow down and girdle or completely sever woody plants at the earth line.”

Product Details

BN ID: 2940016370132
Publisher: Majestic
Publication date: 02/14/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 7 MB

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