Meghan O'Connell2018/03/12

A Winter Blooming Shrub!

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure to explore the beautiful forests and beaches of Costa Rica with my friend, Briana. It was a much needed escape from the cold, dreary days of New England winter. 

But vacations can't last forever and so I returned to Boston 10 days later, with a bit of a tan, only to be hit with a big, fat snowstorm the next day. Oh, I don't feel sorry for myself. I'm from the midwest... I know how to handle the winter. I remember the blizzard of 2012 in Boston quite fondly, watching the hilarious and brave souls cross-country skiing down the usually busy streets in Arlington. I enjoy the respite from the hard labor that I do in the gardens all year. I especially enjoy seeing the branches of trees all exposed in the middle of winter, after having shed all their leaves. 

And winter is the best time to enjoy one of my favorite trees! The Witch Hazel actually blooms during this time! I was lucky enough to see one in full bloom last week in a client's garden. This is probably the only tree I know of that can bloom in the middle of winter that won't get me riled up about climate change. 

Thank you, Witch Hazel, for your cheery and delicate yellow petals on a snowy winter day!

Meghan O'Connell2018/02/14

Winter Pruning

I live in Massachusetts and the winters are bitter cold, so when I first heard of "winter pruning" my first thought was: 

"Who in their right mind would want to do that!?" 

For me, winter is a time to rest and recharge after a busy and exhausting gardening season. Winter is my time to work out at the gym and do yoga. It's the time where I do everything else that I was too busy to do all spring, summer, and fall. 

So today I surprised myself: I did some winter pruning! Granted, it's a balmy 45 degrees in the middle of February, which is not typical, but still, I'm gardening in the WINTER! Who would have thunk? (Not me!)

There are two really great reasons for me to be pruning right now. Actually, three:

1. I get to be outside in the sun! As soon as the temperatures dip back below 40 though, I'm going back inside to keep working on business stuff or practice playing guitar. 

2. It is much easier to see the shape of the trees or shrubs I am pruning in the winter, as long as it's deciduous (has leaves, not needles). With all the leaves gone, I can quickly determine which branches look dead, broken, or are just crowding the plant. Then I can cut them out, giving the plant more light and air, which aids in keeping it healthy. 

3. I can still make money in my "off" season! This is very good for a business that makes most of its income for only about 8 months out of the year.