*As part of our ongoing Stretch Gardening series, we have invited some of our favorite garden bloggers to contribute to the Garden Club. This week we welcome back Rhonda Fleming Hayes, of TheGardenBuzz.com. Rhonda stretched her gardening season by decorating her greenhouse during a snowy winter when she lived in Kansas.*
It was so darn cute. I could kick myself for not taking more pictures of my greenhouse when I decorated it with lights one Christmas — and a rare white Kansas Christmas at that!
I count myself lucky for having had a greenhouse. It was such a treat for the senses. Opening the door was like entering another world where the air was soft and warm, and you inhaled that earthy, moist smell of things growing. Outside the cold wind rattled the glass. Well, actually it was a special plastic called Lexan with bulletproof qualities perfect for Kansas hail.
Having a greenhouse was a luxury, a retreat from the cold, a laboratory for experimentation and a living pantry for tender herbs and citrus. I didn’t harvest that many lemons but, oh, the fragrance of lemon blossoms was so fabulous you didn’t care about the fruit.
And who knew rosemary bloomed such sweet little blue flowers? I was able to keep that, pineapple sage, rose geranium, thyme and all sorts of herbs thriving through the winter. I always felt a tiny bit smug when I headed out to the greenhouse with my snippers and came back with a handful of herbs destined for that night’s dinner.
But I was also known to say that owning a greenhouse was like having a third, maybe fourth child; a big responsibility. When the temperatures dipped way, way down, you worried about the heater. When it got too hot too soon, you wondered, were the cooling vents working? And the changing of the seasons was an all day affair of scrubbing and plant-showers as I worked to keep bugs in check.
As fate would have it, once again we had to move and say goodbye to yet another garden and this time, the greenhouse too. That’s the life of the “trailing spouse” (sounds kind of like a houseplant, huh?) to a career nomad.
So if you have a greenhouse, go out there right now and put some lights on it! You won’t regret it. But don’t fret if you don’t have a greenhouse. There are lots of other ways to stretch the season and bring the garden indoors.
At home, use natural greenery and gather items from nature like branches, pinecones and seedpods to decorate for the holidays. Even an orchid on the bathroom counter, a hanging fern on the sun porch, or maybe a ficus in the bay window can be a way to cheat winter and experience nature all year long.
Better yet, visit local botanical gardens and zoos with glasshouses or conservatories for a mini-break from the cold. It’s like having a greenhouse without the work and worry but with all the wonder.
Image courtesy Rhonda Fleming Hayes
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