Cold Enough

Once the nursery season is officially over, we wait for the temperatures to be consistently cold in order to cover plants in the retail and stock area. This is somewhat tricky on account of the fluctuating weather we may experience in the fall here in Maine. Many of the plants we over-winter are lined up and then covered in a specially designed winter ‘blanket’. Our ideal is to have the plants freeze and remain frozen, it’s the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw that we’re most concerned about.

Still Green! Epimedium colchicum and Adiantum venustum

Our mission is to protect the roots of the plants. Because some of the plants will remain in their pots and not in the ground, the roots are vulnerable and susceptible to damage if left without protection. Therefore, more care and consideration is needed. Our annual ‘covering of the pots’ truly marks the end of our growing season, the last big chore in the nursery. Of course, we also have a tremendous amount of plants that are over-wintered in growing beds, these don’t require any extra defense and will rely on the earth (and hopefully good snow cover) to protect them. A patch-work of fall-related chores here at Fernwood as we welcome the winter season…we’ve processed this year’s supply of meat birds, the root vegetables are snug in the root cellar, and the firewood is (almost) all stacked in the woodshed. Hip Hip Hooray!
Oh, and bread making! Regardless of the season, there is breadmaking!

Mosses – Beauty before the Snow

Moss at FernwoodThis time of year, when most of the landscape is brown, and before the heavy snows cover the forest floor, one of my favorite sights in the woods are the many mosses. They seem to really glow with their vibrant shades of green, sometimes complimented with equally colorful spore capsules. With the absence of other green plants to hide them and compete for your attention, they are able to easily stand out in the landscape.

Mosses are of great value in the garden, often growing where other plants won’t or can’t. Most mosses need but even moisture and shade to thrive, often with little or no soil. Some will tolerate sun, but usually not for long periods of time. When they do dry out and wither, the first bit of moisture revives them, and quickly. Continue reading