Hi GPODers, this is your editor, Joseph, and as we head into serious winter here in my northern Indiana garden, I’m looking back at my favorite garden moments from the year that just passed. I hope it’ll inspire you to do the same and to send your favorites into the GPOD so we can all get inspired and try out new ideas for the gardening year ahead!
Winter in my climate (the edge of Zones 5 and 6, with LOTS of snow) is long, so snowdrops are essential! This is one of 500 Galanthus elwesii (Zones 4–7) I planted in the fall of 2021, here flowering bravely through a late snowfall. My only regret is not planting more!
Also essential for surviving the long winter here is lots of gardening indoors. This is my grow-light setup. It’s nothing fancy, just wire shelves and cheap LED shoplights from the hardware store, but they let me grow lots and lots of plants through the winter to fill my new garden.
And houseplants! I got into African violets last year, and this one, ‘Bob Serbin’, just blew me away with the profusion of blooms. It’s fabulous to have when there is 3 feet of snow outside.
Once spring arrived, I went for lots of hikes and saw these beautiful wildflowers, our native hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba, Zones 3–9). These early bloomers are native to the eastern half of North America. They were so beautiful that I was inspired to buy some for my home garden. I can’t wait to see them bloom this spring!
And it’s hard to beat daffodils. This is my current favorite variety, Narcissus ‘Moonlight Sensation’ (Zones 4–8), which makes more blooms per bulb than any other I’ve grown. Bonus: it smells great too!
I grew these peonies (Paeonia lactiflora, Zones 3–8) from seed I collected in a friend’s garden a few years ago. I love the single-flower form, both for the graceful look of fewer petals and because they stand tall without staking, unlike the heavier double-flowered forms.
Another wildflower sighting that inspired me: wild lupines. This is the true species native to the eastern part of North America, Lupinus perennis (Zones 3–9). It’s host for many butterflies, including the endangered karner blue, which only feeds on the leaves of this species. This stand was just thriving by a roadside. It’s definitely on my list to add to my home garden next year.
And here’s one of the longest-performing plants in my garden this year: snapdragons (Antirrhinum hybrids, usually grown as annuals). I planted these in the bed between my sidewalk and the street this spring, and they have bloomed nonstop right through the summer and long after our first frost. I missed this plant when I lived in coastal Virginia, as it got too hot there for them to survive the summer. But here in Indiana they are hard to beat.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
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I do love your "grow-light setup" to enjoy all winter! Hepatica is so gorgeous, I'm trying to grow it too and waiting for spring to see if it makes it.
Your Snap Dragons are fabulous! I love the way they are in a nice big group for impact.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season, Joseph!!!
Thank you for all you do for us with GPOD.
That African violet is spectacular - I have no luck with them but that one makes me want to try again! And those peonies... swoon!!!
That African violet… and the hepatica! Gorgeous.
Your African Violet is spectacular. I love them, but never had any luck in growing them. Seeing yours makes me want to give them another try. The peony display is lovely in its simplicity. Wishing you a safe and Happy Holiday Season!
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