January Gardening 2014

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

Happy 2014 and hopefully a wonderful year of gardening!

We spent the holidays in New York, so I was confronted with having a Christmas tree in our apartment.  In last month’s column, I wrote about making a clean cut at the bottom of the Christmas tree trunk, so that the tree will be able to absorb water to keep it fresh.  Since we did not have a tree saw in the apartment, my husband drilled three fairly deep holes into the bottom of the trunk instead and it worked beautifully.  The tree drank tons of water and stayed fresh for almost three weeks.  I then was faced with taking the tree down and having it put on the street for the recycling truck to pick up, a great civic idea, but I would not have the branches to put in my garden at Fishers Island for winter mulch. So, I took some loppers I brought to NYC, and removed the branches from the tree and put them in two large contractor bags to bring to the Island.  I am sure the back elevator man was a bit shocked to find the stripped Christmas tree, which looked like an over zealous beaver had attacked it on the 9th floor, but I was very happy to have my rosebushes at Fishers Island surrounded by the branches of our once lovely NYC tree. This, I admit, has taken gardening almost to an obsessive level, but it did work!


As the days get a tiny bit longer in January, houseplants will begin to wake up.  It is a good time to look the plants over carefully and give them a nice shower in the sink. If there are any suspicious signs of bugs, spray the plants with insecticidal soap.  Piles of seed catalogs arrive this month. I like to sit with a cup of tea and read through them  and make lists of seeds or plants to try in the garden.  I also enjoy this time to read about gardening and I love a wonderful British magazine called Gardens Illustrated. It has the most heavenly photographs of gardens and plants in the UK and has wonderful gardening tips as well.  I also recommend, the Connecticut Gardener, which is an informative local newsletter “serving gardeners in Zones 5.6 and 7 since 1995”. You can contact them for a subscription at www.conngardener.com.  Enjoy this quiet garden planning time because outside winter chores are approaching quickly in the next few months.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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