Thursday, January 12, 2012

In the Dead of Winter

Well, here in West Sonoma County it is not as cold as some other places I have lived but the mornings are frosty.  This morning when I went to let the ducks out, the thermometer by their gate said 29 degrees.  Frost everywhere the sun has not reached.  These cold nights and warm days have me in a quandary, "What to do in the garden?"  The warm sunshine midday is very inviting to plant.  The lack of rain is a concern carrying out any planting or transplanting in the ground.

I am slowly revising MuRefuge's Plant List for posting.  Seeds for the vegetable garden have been ordered.  This year I avoided being seduced by various catalogue descriptions of hybrid seeds.  I only order open pollinated seeds.

Thank you Cathie.   Your book list sent me on an enjoyable, extended web-journey this morning!
Yes, the Mono Lake DVD is Wonderful!!!
Your interesting, informative tours would be a great offering.  As for time preferences, oh goodness, maybe the plants will need to tell you.
Maybe you shared in a previous blog, but I'm wondering what are a couple/few of your latest/favorite native plant and vegetable catalogues?
Yum, now I can make the celeriac salad!
With appreciation and best wishes,   -Ann

In response to Ann's request, here are my favorite sources for veggie seeds, both of which provide hardcopy catalogs too:

For the first time this year I ordered online from Heirloom Seeds since they do not offer hardcopy catalogs:

I have tried numerous places for native seeds.  I always come back to

Judith Larner Lowry also has a blog which does not have any recent posts but is very informative, as is her seed link above.

Last Fall I cleaned out all the big clay pots sitting on the patio.  Low and behold when the rains occurred in October seeds that I had scattered in the Spring germinated.  Now we have lovely and cheery annual natives blooming.

Bird's Eye Gilia (Gilia Tricolor)

Close up of Bird's Eye Gilia

Five Spot (Nemophila maculata)

Close up of Five Spot

Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla) with Five Spot

Feel free to share your Winter activities in the comment section below while you


  1. HI Cathie-
    We are starting to get our landscape ready for spring, not much else to do in the winter.
    We have decided to trim the canopies of our large ash and 4 elm trees up and see if with flood irrigation and lots more summer sun we can get the grass to grow. Due to the various micro-climates in the backyard-one section in particular takes the coldest temps. in the winter and the hottest in the summer-I am taking a respite from trying to get bushes, plants and the like to survive both extremes. Also getting the privet hedge that towers over 3 sides of the yard trimmed down a lot.

    The horned owl in the large pine tree next door who keeps the pigeon count down and the foxes which chase the roof rats keep the neighborhood busy at night.

    Have you heard of James Doss ? My sister thinks his books are as good as Tony Hillerman’s -Doss is the same genre. I am skeptical but decided to check his first book out- The Shaman Sings, so far I am enjoying it more than I thought.