For those of you who are new to our weekly siteseeing trips, they're all about seeing the sights at garden websites. (A little play on words there; not a misspelling of "sightseeing.") We visit gardens and gardeners in other parts of the US and the world to see what's happening -- and growing -- in various places.
In Wichita, Kan., GrandBob is a man who likes to experiment in the garden. Currently he's raising tomato seedlings several different ways to see if a dilute solution of alcohol -- instead of all water -- affects their growth. (So far the teetotaler plants are growing faster and taller.)
He can also tell you how to build a cardboard coldframe for $2. Want to test how well a certain patch of soil will grow veggies? "A simple, inexpensive, and fast way to test an area (or soil etc.)," advises GrandBob's Garden, is to sneak into your wife's supply of pinto beans in the kitchen. Plant them and see what happens."
Where is White Rock, British Columbia? That's where Jen lives and blogs about Muddy Boot Dreams. Turns out it's a seaside community along the Semiahmoo Bay. If that doesn't ring any geography bells for you, it's in the greater Vancouver area.
I had to smile that the "muddy boots" seem to be a bit at odds with the community's website, which says -- no doubt hoping to lure more tourists -- "While it may be raining in other Lower Mainland locations, the sun is usually out in White Rock." Who wouldn't want to visit -- or garden in -- a place where "the sun is usually out"?!
But I certainly think of coastal British Columbia as having more moderate temperatures than all the way across the continent, here in Boston. My temperature is hovering in the mid-20s (F.; 4 degrees C) this morning (with wind chills of 9 degrees F.; -13 C), but earlier this week, Jen was faced with an overnight low of -15 C (5 F.). I sympathize.
But she does have a delightful "I'm at the beach" archives, which definitely warms you up.
Winter temperatures are certainly warmer in Seymour, Texas, where Debra Howard lives, gardens, and writes Behind My Garden Gate. (According to the city's website, Seymour is the "crossroads of northwest Texas," a place where you can have it all." Along with "exemplary schools" and "superior water," it also promises "starry nights" and "beautiful sunsets." I love it!)
Earlier this week, Debra told us, "spring has sprung." Sigh. It'll be several months before I can say that. Blooming for her are daffodils, violets, Johnny-jump-ups, and English daisies. Mmm, I can feel the sun now.
Abbey Meadows is a British site that chronicles wildlife and nature "in the Wansbeck Valley and beyond." The Wansbeck is a river. Morpeth is the main town. Both are in Northumberland, which is known as the border country.
Currently looking good: winter aconite. velvet shank (an interesting fungus), snowdrops, and a handsome fox.
I'm not likely to see any foxes here in the heart of the city, but I'm definitely dreaming of the appearing of my early bulbs.
Join us next week for another siteseeing adventure. We also invite you to visit the main page of the Monitor’s gardening site , where you can find many articles, essays, and blog posts on various garden topics.