Exchanging the Garden for the Kitchen -Winter Comforts

Primitive Oil Winter scene

What is warmer than the gleam of copper?

Ready to bake and cook in the winter kitchen.

Vintage creamers from France.

Below are vintage Hall Pottery casseroles from the 50s, I believe. I looked on Ebay and Etsy recently and saw that this elegant series of this pottery were nowhere to be seen. All for sale now seem to be muddy colored teapots and casseroles. I wonder if the older gold leaf pottery went out of favor because it cannot go in a microwave or a dishwasher. Convenience is King now.

As my age goes up, my collecting dwindles. When I lived in the South I spent Friday and Saturday mornings at the estate sales , which are commoner there than they are here. Not only were there great inexpensive finds, the sales were also a good place for people watching. Something I will post about in the future.

Almost everything I own is second hand. A dining room table my sister did not want .Old desks and chairs. Sweaters and coats from Goodwill or Ebay. I like recycling more than just cans and bottles-


Above- Winter Peace, Bow, New Hampshire

Several years ago I learned about Pleonexia.

I read an article on this disease of the soul on the website “TecumsehProject.org.” Being technically illiterate, I cannot put in a link, but if you can find Google, you can find this. I thought a few people might be interested to read about a Greek concept that puts a name to a greed that can never be satisfied.

As the philosopher once said “Nothing is enough to someone for whom enough is little.”

True thousands of years ago. True now.

My Indoor Garden- Part Two, And Some scenes from Outside and Down the Road.

Above is a sunny window facing southwest. The yellow tags are sticky traps for whiteflies, which can shrivel leaves and discourage a plant to death. The spray bottles are Neem Oil and insecticidal soap, used on aphids. There are many pots of special lantanas in this room, and they are loved by whiteflies, although they are not as damaged by the flies as the tender salvias are.

Salvias, Gardenmeister fuschias, and tobacco plants. All doing well.

A canna, potted up and kept cool and dry. Keeping cannas in soil is easier for me and safer on the cannas than keeping them wrapped in newspaper kept damp. The newspaper dries out, the cannas shrivel. and a plant that cost 25.00 plus an hefty shipping fee is lost.

Though early spring is the time catalogs arrive, I give them just a glance, for I order from their company on line. Ordering by mail is ordering blind, for by the time the nursery gets an order by mail, what you sent for may be sold out. Nurseries know what they have and their sites know what they do not.

I don’t know how the online nurseries are staying in business, considering that a $90.00 dollar order might cost $35.00 to ship standard. Pay for overnight air can exceed the cost of the plants. I can only think that plant lovers love plants and spare no expense, even if they have to scrounge elsewhere.


Sites From the World Outside

A Winter sunrise.

Open water on the Middle Branch of the Piscataquog River in New Boston. The river has not frozen this year, and upstream, Gregg Mill Pond is ice free. This has been a balmy winter with the exception of the flash freeze and high wind over Christmas that left us without power for four days.

Who lives here? I suspect a raccoon.

And below, a photo of the leathery creeping leaves of the beloved New England wildflower Trailing Arbutus, fragrant and blooming in April on the field edges of the Oak and Pine forest.

My Winter Gardening Room

It is a tough road for plants wintering in a cool room from November to March. One needs insecticidal soap spray, sticky traps, reduced watering and vigilance to keep the indoor garden going. If I winter over tropical butterfly weeds, there is an ongoing battle with aphids. And some plants, depressive by nature, just give up and wither thinking spring will never come.

Yet some plants will put up a bloom or two. Here is one of them- Nicotiana “Crimson Bedder”, a tender perennial I bought from Annie’s Annuals in California. It blooms non stop from spring to freeze and spreads gently by wandering roots. It overwinters very well and I consider it an exemplary plant.


A Surprise from the 2023 Plant Delights mail order catalogue.

I was astounded to see a new race of Lycoris, or “Surprise Lily” offered to Northern gardeners. Lycoris, an amaryllis relative, is a summer blooming bulb, common in Southern gardens, where it appears overnight in the heat of late July and early August. One day there is empty earth, the next there are lilies under the dogwoods, around the mailboxes, between the hostas.

I have ordered four bulbs to plant in the Mary Headstone flower bed at the Goffstown Historical Society Garden in Goffstown, NH.

They are a variety of Lycoris sprengeri , discovered in China. The breeder named them “Pink Floyd”, and they a a bright pink. Unfortunately I do not have a photo, copyright law being what it is, but one can view them on the Plant Delights website.

The Stark Cemetery- Mansion Road, Dunbarton, New Hampshire.

A friend took me over to the Stark Cemetery this past fall. She is an admirer of Caleb Stark and the Stark Clan, who were so prominent in New Hampshire. Warriors and politicians, they are buried here.

My friend is wistful about Caleb, and says he is a man she wishes she could have married.

New Boston is Stark Country. Stark Highway, the Molly Stark cannon, pressed into use for old time’s sake every Fourth of July in the town.

I am more interested in the headstones , carved so gracefully, and surrounded by silence and tall pines Here are the photos. I took.

On an evening in 1977, Robert Lowell, a sick and troubled man died from a heart attack while sitting in a taxi. As disturbed as he was with years of madness and with a life in and out of mental hospitals, with a trail of personal wreckage left behind, he was one of the world’s great poets, I believe he was the last great American poet.

These are the last stanzas of his poem “Winter In Dunbarton”. I believe he is speaking of his ancestral burial grounds at the Stark Cemetery.

“Into this eldest of the seasons. Cold

Snaps the bronze toes and fingers of the Christ

My father fetched from Florence ,and the dead

Chatters to nothing in the thankless ground

His father screwed from Charlie Stark and sold

To the selectmen. Cold has cramped his head

Against his heart. My father’s stone is crowned

With snowflakes and the bronze-age shards of Christ”.

Persephone and Our Gardens have disappeared into the Snow and Granite Underworld-So let’s enjoy a little Silly Verse called “The Beagle Poem”.

A nose with four legs defines a Beagle.

And though his lineage is regal-

(Elizabeth 1 owned a slew)

This might not be the dog for you!

A Beagle’s hearing is selective.

He hears only what he wants to hear

And drives his owner to curses and invective.

A Beagle does only what he wants to do.

He cares nothing for what’s convenient for you.

He wants only to sniff, and sleep, and snack.

His Nirvana is the Rabbit’s track.

Pity his owner, trapped in the car

Driving by the verge, where the Rabbits are

And has her ears blistered by howl and roar!


Dedicated to the late Dippity Dog, who loved to travel the Gulf Coast in a Toyota Tundra after his owner retired.

Undaunted- The Last Flowers Blooming. Goffstown Historical Society Garden.

Above- Salvia “Indigo Spires” and foliage of” Harrington’s Pink” New England Aster.

Little Bluestem “Standing Ovation”

Shrub Hypericum “Blues Festival” and the Prairie Golden Aster.

“Raydon’s Favorite” Aromatic aster

Unknown variety- heirloom hardy chrysanthemum.

Japanese Spurflower

Persicaria “Amethyst Summer”

Early October at the Goffstown Historical Society Gardens

Many nights in the high 30’s and low 40’s, but still no frost. Late bloomers are still colorful, but warm season annuals are fading.

“Bobo” hydrangea
Heart leaved aster and Virginia creeper
Schoolhouse Borders
Asters and Persicaria “Golden Arrow”

The above is the Grass Leaved Goldenrod. It is delicate and pretty, but can spread.

The bonfire colors of French marigolds, and below the African marigold “Crackerjack”. The small French marigolds bloom early and all summer, but the seed raised Africans start blooming so late that next season I will start them under lights.

Above are Aster laevis “Bluebird” and a lone zinnia with a rose-like bloom. “Bluebird” has succulent leaves and is tolerant of sandy dry soil.

I am shocked by how many gardeners I meet label all asters but the showiest of New England asters “weeds”. Goldenrods get the same disrespect. With the growing need for late blooming flowers that feed bees and butterflies, I am astonished at this attitude.

Goldenrods and native asters and their cultivars are tough through heat and drought and deep frozen winters. How ironic that their qualities are obvious to the sophisticated gardeners of the UK and the Continent who love these flowers and use them freely while Americans trash them as worthless roadside weeds.

Aster “Lady in Black”, nicotiana “Mutabilis”, and the Heart leaved asters.