Dreams of Winter

When the weather is cold and dreary, we clutch our seed catalogs and dream of summer’s bounty. What do we dream of in July when the air is hot and muggy and the garden looks a bit tired? Sandra Jonas blogged about her Bothy and showed pictures of Suzanne’s Folly.

I’m eager to try to fit my tender potted plants back in the greenhouse.

I used to put bulbs for forcing in the unheated utility room where they did not freeze. Little cuttings, too. Seedlings in late winter were trundled in and out of the tool shed on an old kitchen cart.

It’s the cat’s winter hangout. This summer he’s hanging out under my car with a fan blowing his way. He makes his way out to the empty greenhouse when rain cools the air enough for it to be tolerable inside. On higher shelves he is out of the dog’s reach.

Somehow I’m going to fit in a place to sit and take tea when it is cold and rainy outside.

I’m afraid the tea table will be taken up by cuttings….

Here I am dreaming about winter pleasures. First we have to get to August planting of perennial seedlings. Tender perennials must be dug and potted for winter — there is a long list of them. Wait! All kinds of delights and surprises await in the late summer garden and what about the acidanthera bulbs I forgot to plant? Summer pruning — I’m behind because of the heat. There is a long list of chores for cooler weather.

I digressed from the original notion of this post. Sandra spoke of the ambitious dreams we have of a place to pot up seedlings, take a little tea, retreat from the world, protect tender plants. She knew how dear some of the structures she saw in clients’ backyards were. She further talks about the possible, using found materials. My choice (DH’s decision) was to give our discarded windows to the scrap man and go with a snug little aluminum framed polycarb house. It is not without its drawbacks, including replacing aging panels that the hailstorm took out this spring. It is reachable for a budget gardener in a mild climate where it freezes sometimes. For some, basement grow lights are a better choice; I haven’t a basement. I did pretty well with cuttings and seeds in the utility room, if a bit crowded and unhandy.

One of the mouses, Country Mouse, has a beautiful custom built greenhouse built by her talented husband. I couldn’t find a pic on their blog of the finished GH to link to. Not that it doesn’t exist but I  can’t always find what things by the titles of posts. Trust me, it is wonderful, gopher-tight and practical as well.

Last I heard, Tara is decorating herConservatory. A conservatory would be a wonderful place to entertain guests or just sit and contemplate the garden, nap or read.

How do you keep your tender plants over the winter? Do you have a sheltered place to sit when the weather is bad? Do you aspire to a Bothy? A Tea House? A Glass House? A Conservatory?



  1. What a lot of potted plants. Love the ones on table with purple leaves.

  2. Nell, that is a fabulous greenhouse! Your plants look so healthy & happy, a sure sign of a good gardener! The cat looks quite content too. Why are we all so drawn to these outdoor retreats??? . Thank you so much for alluding to my blog.

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