Garden Photo of the Day

Surviving the Indiana Winter

What’s getting me through the snowy season

snowdrop growing snow

Today it is me, your GPOD editor, Joseph, checking in from my very snowy garden in northern Indiana.

snowdrop growing snowRecently, we had a warm day, some snow melted, and I saw my snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii, Zones 3–8) getting ready to bloom. Giddy with excitement, I posted on social media that spring was coming.

yard covered in snowThe very next day we got about 5 inches of new snow. My snowdrop patch now looks like this. I like winter, I enjoy snow, but the end of February is always the roughest time of year—when winter seems like it has been going on forever and I don’t remember what the ground looks like. Luckily, I’ve got some things indoors that keep me going.

potted African violets in a windowAfrican violets have been a big hit with me this winter, and this is one of my favorites. It isn’t a fancy modern hybrid, but rather Saintpaulia grotei, one of the original wild species from Africa that were used to breed the modern houseplants of today. I love the simplicity of the blooms and the incredible vigor and profusion of flowers.

starting seeds indoorsBut the biggest thing keeping me going through the winter is my plant lights. Just some basic LED shop lights and wire shelving from the hardware store, they are a great source of green and happiness during the long winter.

primrose seedlingsIt is still a little too early to start things like tomatoes indoors, but I’ve got a lot of perennials growing inside, like these auricula primroses (Primula × pubescens, Zones 4–7). I’ve got a new, empty garden, so growing perennials like these inside is a cheap way to fill all that space. And it keeps me busy!

primrose seedling with silver coatingGrowing from seed is fun because you sometimes get unexpected variation. This particular seedling has a silvery coating called “farina,” which is typical of some forms of this type of primrose.

columbine seedlingsI’ve also got lots of columbines (Aquilegia spp., Zones 3–9) started inside. They’re one of my favorite perennials, so I’m excited to have lots of them in the garden this year.

cyclamen seedlingsAnd finally, a pot of tiny ivy-leaved cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium, Zones 4–8) seedlings. This is one of my favorite perennials for shade, but it can be hard to find for sale. So I’m happy to have a bunch of seedlings! It’ll be a few years before they bulk up and show how beautiful they can be, but they already make me smile with every leaf that opens up.


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View Comments


  1. nwphilagardener 02/28/2022

    Nice to see the Editor as contributor! I see Amaryllis buds and spent blooms under grow lights. Don't they get a less utilitarian place when their showy blooms clamor for attention?

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/28/2022

    So Joseph, what is this about a new garden?

  3. gardendevas 02/28/2022

    Well done, Joseph! A splendid array of healthy seedlings. It has indeed been an intense winter. Here in northeastern Ohio we have had multiple record snows, and can see the ground for the first time in two months. Looking forward to watching your new garden unfold!

  4. margotnavarre 02/28/2022

    I can’t see a lot of your garden but your seed set up looks fantastic and growing some interesting plants. Keep on posting your progress. The cyclamen seeds look great and many more. Thanks for your pictures.

  5. User avater
    cynthia2020 02/28/2022

    Joseph - thank you for sharing what has been going on with you. All of your specialized horticultural study, experience, and publishing is evident!
    I liked learning about the Saintpaulia grotei and the farinose primrose.
    I was wondering what the flowers might look like on something with that mealy, starchy looking substance on it and found some photos of Primula auricula ‘Sea Peep’ online. I thought the flowers and foliage looked very striking and old fashioned.
    Best wishes for a great outdoor gardening season at your new home.

  6. User avater
    simplesue 02/28/2022

    You are amazing with the seed growing! I know it's not as easy as it looks! Just love your African violet, and to learn about it!
    Also so interesting to see how Snow Drops can suddenly become snow-hidden whereabouts unknown LOL!

  7. btucker9675 02/28/2022

    That African violet is stupendous! Hope your snowdrops re-emerge soon...

  8. User avater
    bdowen 02/28/2022

    Inspiring to see all your seedlings getting ready for spring and a new garden. I think you just set yourself up to give us periodic photos/reports on that new garden. Seeing the process can be as interesting at the end of season views.

  9. [email protected] 02/28/2022

    Thanks for sharing how things are going in your new 'hood. I also look forward to seeing periodic updates on your progress. I haven't had a lot of success with indoor seed-starting, but the last 2 years did great with gourds, so maybe I will up my game. You have inspired me!!

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