Karen Alley has been working with Carolina Gardener Magazine off and on for 10 years, but reading and writing about wonderful gardens doesn't automatically make you a gardening expert! While a passion for gardening has been a part of her personality since childhood, she will vehemently profess to not knowing much when it comes to the ins and outs of designing and creating beautiful landscapes, yet the desire is definitely there. This blog will follow Karen's adventures as she continues landscaping a relatively new landscape and starts a vegetable garden in a beautiful raised bed built by her husband.
 

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Weather Watching
by Karen Alley - posted 01/25/13

Weather Watching

I’m a weather junkie. My husband even says that I have a crush on the weather man, and if I were honest with myself I might have to admit he’s right. I don’t care whether it’s Van Denton or Austin Caviness, I love them both the same. So why am I so fascinated with weather patterns? I can’t really say. But one thing I’ve learned is that gardening and weather go hand in hand.

In the early spring, I eagerly watch the forecasts to see when it will warm up enough for me to plant my fragile seedlings outside. In the summer I’m watching for rain to come and quench my gardens. And in the fall, while I eagerly anticipate the cooler weather and beautiful leaves, there’s a part of me that dreads seeing the first frost in the 7-day outlook, because I know it means the last of my late-summer blooms.

Then we come to winter. Things are pretty slow in the garden right now, but it’s one of the most exciting times for the weather. We can have a high of 65 degrees one day and a high of 34 with a chance of sleet and freezing rain a few days later. And for the most part, I can enjoy watching the weather and even being out and about without worrying about plants, planting or anything ruining my plans to be outdoors. The beauty of winter is that we usually plan to be indoors because we assume it will be cold. So when we get a rare warm day, we gardeners are excited to get a chance to go outside and play.

The past two weeks have been especially exciting with the weather. Last week we had more rain than I’ve seen in a long time. I felt like it rained constantly from Sunday night to Thursday night. Except that on Thursday afternoon that rain turned to snow. Friday morning my kids got a chance to go throw a few snowballs while I knocked the heavy wet stuff off my nandina.

 

 

Here's a view of my raised-bed garden. It has great drainage, but even it had a puddle!

 

And who knows if this lettuce will make it in this container, it has worse drainage than I knew!

Today we had snow and sleet again, but this time I was ready for it. We had plenty of food at the house and no big plans to do anything, so when school was called off at 6 a.m. I was ready for a snow day. Unfortunately it’s the kind of snow day that’s not too fun to play in. So we took advantage of it by playing some Monopoly Jr. and watching a movie. And of course, the kids got their sleeping bags out and had a campout in the hall. It’s the time of year when I can be thankful for a solid house, warm heat, and a beautiful view from my window of nandina, winterberry and bright-red cardinals.

I’ll also be keeping a close eye out on the weather. It looks like next week there are a couple of days with highs predicted in the low 60s. Might be time to get out and do some garden clean up that didn’t get done in the fall!

 

 

 

 

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