Sunday, February 19, 2012

Over-Wintering A Fig Tree in the Basement

Last October, I purchased a fig tree for $20 at an end-of-season sale at a local garden center. I have never grown figs here in the Northeast; my last foray into figs was when I lived in Florida. But at twenty bucks, I figured the pot alone was worth probably double that, so I took the plunge.

After squeezing it into the backseat of the Ford Escort with my fingers crossed it would survive the trip home without breaking it's tender branches (wouldn't you know my husband had the bigger car that day), I made it home OK and kept it on the deck for another month or so, until the first few frosts hit.

Next move - to get it into the basement to over-winter. Figs are not hardy to stay outdoors all winter here (although my new zone 7a classification may now change this). Anyway, it was a 2-person job to get this baby in the basement. But Bill and I managed to get it down the stairs with the help of a hand-truck. We deposited it in a dark corner where it sat for over a month, until I remembered it was down there (!) and probably after an expletive or two, I went down to water it. As I said before, I make a lot of this gardening stuff up as I go. . . . but it seemed fine. So I left it another month, and watered it again, giving it a good soaking. I figured I was simulating the non-existent snowfall we should have had this year.

So, much to my surprise, this weekend I go down to take a peek (I actually remembered the poor thing was down there this time) and to my surprise/delight, it is starting to sprout little fig leaves from some of it's branches! Here is the photographic evidence:

While I'm cautiously optimistic we will have figs this summer, I now have to figure out when it's safe to move it back outdoors.  I don't want to jeopardize the current progress being made. Any suggestions from my gardening friends???

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A New Project In the Works . . .

Here's a little teaser of a new project I might be doing in the coming months; more details to come!!!

Moving Up in the World . . .

While we have admittedly had a mild winter here in the Northeast, I don't quite know how to take the news that my garden has now moved into the USDA plant hardiness Zone 7a. I'm assuming this is due to global warming; so I am conflicted over being disturbed at this news and excited at the same time (maybe I can finally plant some crape myrtles)!!!! Anyway, they have revised the zones, so  maybe it's time to do a little experimentation with new plants. Check to see if your zone has changed here:

I am starting to get cabin fever; I miss working in my garden. I am curious to see what Spring brings after this unusually warm winter. The crocuses are already blooming; the daffodils are poking their leaves through the mulch. The Dutch irises have had their greenery above ground since the fall; it didn't seem to bother them last year as they made it through the Winter from Hell, with all it's snow piled high, so I have high hopes they will make it through this time as well. Some new additions planted last Autumn in the garden include oriental poppies and blue baptisia.

I can't help but think of my peonies at the first mention of Spring; while I will have to wait until May to see them bloom, it's never to early to eagerly await the first bud swells and the promise of things to come. Here are a few photos of my tree peony blooms from years past:

One of the best places I have found to purchase tree peonies and learn about these beautiful plants is right here in Connecticut, called Cricket Hill Garden:

It's an awesome place to visit; the tiered peony gardens are a sight to behold in Spring and early Summer. Plus they ship as well . . .
Time to go - the garden catalogues are calling; I think it's time to check out those crape myrtles after all!