Posts Tagged ‘Winter Garden’

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with Momma Jane

My mom’s out here for a 9-day visit, and Momma Jane is the original CPL (Crazy Plant Lady) in this family. She’s had a gorgeous cacti and succulent garden for as long as I can remember, and she’s got a way with everything from orchids to ferns. After giving my indoor plants a spa day on Wednesday morning, we thought we’d spend today’s “balmy” 18-degree snow showers inside the greenhouses at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. This was David’s and my first time there, and we look forward to seeing the outdoor sculptures, plants and trees in other seasons.


Between Christmas trees decorated in styles from all around the world, Rodin exhibit, the Desert Room, Carnivorous Plant Room, a miniature city made from nuts, bark, leaves and mushrooms, the train, and the 5-story high Tropical Room, we plant lovers were in our element. I thought I’d share some of our favorite photos below. If they’re of me, or they look particularly artistic, David took the photos. He’s really a master at capturing just the right angles and interesting framing. 🙂


The above photos and the next one are in the entryway, filled with amaryllis, evergreens and natural light displays. Continue reading

First Real Snow Here!



Winter Greens and my PDC

Just two quick updates here:

  1. Yes, the gardens continue to produce in mid-January. We’ve had such weird weather here, ranging from minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit a couple weeks ago to 56(!) degrees last night. Between row covers and snow, the kale, miner’s lettuce, chard, and mustard are all still providing us with the tastiest of very fresh greens. I snuck out between rainstorms yesterday afternoon to harvest these yums for dinner and smoothies. I wouldn’t eat the chard raw, since it’s a little mushy, especially the stems, but when cooked, this frostbitten chard tastes unbelievably rich and chewy. One of our favorites!


      2. It’s official: I completed my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) and am now qualified to offer permaculture consultations, help individuals and communities design permaculture setups, and also teach permaculture related workshops. In order to teach the full PDC, I would need more training and an apprenticeship, because that course covers a massive amount of material; however, I’m qualified and open to teaching smaller, more focused workshops for people who want to learn about permaculture before committing to the time and money associated with learning the full spectrum of permanent agriculture and permanent culture.

Still Blooming!

It was minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit here last week, but on this afternoon’s walk through the yard, I noticed these little beauties still blooming strong:


Faery magic is alive and well in this yard! What’s really weird is that the hot pink hat, flower pin and scarf I felt oddly inspired to wear today match the primrose. Someone’s having a Midwinter giggle, scattering beauty across the frozen ground.

December Blooms

It’s 3 degrees Fahrenheit outside, but blooming bright and cozy inside Faery Hof:



Winter Wonderland Garden Update

First snowfall yesterday! Today, the yard looks like a winter wonderland, in delightful contrast with the lush and flowering indoor garden. Here are some photos to cheer you up on a chilly day. Well, it’s chilly here, anyway! A perfect day for vegan aronia-quinoa-cacao scone biscuits:

aronia quinoa scones



Flowering geraniums, a budding Christmas cactus, peppermint, a living palm screen, lettuce microgreens, aloe and jade in the southern window of our house:


The blue house offers a less sunny southern window for oregano, thyme, parsley, chives, aloe and a tree collard cutting, while Mr. Meyer Lemon seems to prefer my sunny southern office window, along with jade and snake plant companions. The office is still not finished, but at least the plants and crystals are happy!

Tonight we’re making a stir-fry and topping it with these homegrown Chinese artichokes, affectionately known by me as “the little dudes,” which I harvested on Friday alongside these self-sown carrots. Gotta love self-sown carrots! I harvested a few more before the snow arrived.

carrots and Chinese artichokes

Chinese artichokes are related to mint and will hopefully be a perennial if I harvested them right. The little dudes grow from the roots, and they taste a lot like water chestnuts. You can eat them raw, as I did yesterday, and we think they’ll make a fun topping to a mixed veggie stir-fry. They required zero work, just a contained plot and some water, until harvest, so I hope the remaining roots prove vigorous enough to grow again next spring.

Winter Garden Update ~ Plants Alive After Minus 15 Degrees!

We had some rain and above freezing temperatures, so I opened the cold frame to see if anything had survived the verrrrry deep freeze earlier this week. Um, wow. Many of my plants are still alive! I didn’t harvest much, but you can see some kale, tat soi and radish greens here:

January greens after deep freeze

David snapped this Suessian photo of our Winterbor kale earlier in the week:

January kale

That and the other two Winterbor varieties are still alive. The dwarf Siberian, lacinato and outside Red Russian kale all look pretty frostbitten, but the Siberian and Red Russian might make a comeback. I also lifted the shower curtain I have covering one of the InstaBeds with the tree collards, intending to overwinter that favorite perennial. It had about 8 inches of snow on top, but the tree collards, Lucullus chard, cilantro and leeks were all still alive with no frost burn, either. In the cold frame, the Lucullus chard looked less happy, but it remains alive, along with thyme, collard greens, beets, carrots and more. Pretty amazing.

We might be one of the very few local people to have greens growing after the insanely cold (minus forty with the windchill) early part of this week. We noticed our co-op had zero local greens and even minimum fresh offerings from elsewhere. I remember that from last year, which is one reason I felt so adamant about having a winter garden this year. No sign of my mache yet, but supposedly those seeds are super slow to germinate. We shall see…

Time to eat a stirfry with some of those fresh greens thrown in. Yay!