It is cold! Icy cold. But the potting shed is cozy. I’ve had fun puttering! The weather for the next week is not even up to 25F and the lows dip into the minus category!

I have always wanted to have more time for seed starting and propagation. Last year time was something I had plenty of! How about you! 😱 #becarefulwhatyouwishfor

In March and April 2020 I started more seeds than ever before! I am happy to report that I had more success than ever before.  It was wonderful in the spring to have enough seedlings to share!

In July  2020 I started more cuttings than ever before. Cuttings of lavender, boxwood, geraniums and roses. I am happy to report that I had more success than ever before. 


Yes, the big differences this year were that I had more time to take care of them and nurse them along, and, I gave them more light than ever before. I replaced my 20+ year old grow lights for new Ferry-Morse Grow Lights and I think it helped. I chose Ferry-Morse because that is what Lowes had and convenience was everything last spring!


Last week I started potting up the summer cuttings. I was so excited to see what was going on underneath!

Process: 4 boxwood cuttings in 1 pot outside to 3 individual plants ready to go. Same For the lavender … from 3 in one pot outside to 2 strong starts looking great.


Winter sowing in milk jugs is something I am going to give a try this year.

Two years ago, Hendricks Co Master Gardener President, Steve Pearl, did a program on starting seeds in the winter using milk jugs. Steve has used this method for years with great success in our area (5b). He usually starts the process in mid-February. Sometimes he’s had up to 50 milk jugs filled with seeds. 50! Most of the seeds he uses are seeds he has saved – taking the process to a whole other level. Here are Steve’s “how-to” notes.

While he has started so many types of plants through the years and had a great deal of success, the plants that have done the best for him are:

  • Coral Bells
  • Coreopsis
  • Glorisa Daisy
  • Great Blue Lobelia
  • Royal Catchfly
  • Liatris
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Common Milkweed

Laura from GARDEN ANSWER has several great videos on this process too. Watch here. 

I am gathering all my supplies to plant these in a couple of weeks — milk jugs, potting soil, all-weather tape (here), markers, vermiculite, seeds, AND some short green fencing to “disguise” the jugs a bit. 
The hardest part of this process for me may prove to be finding a place where the plants can get what they need, is convenient for me to watch over them, and help them “fit in” with the garden design. 😆Yes, introducing milk jugs to the garden design requires a bit of “strategic planning.” 😉  


With weather this icy, it’s time to turn up our thermostats and our “hot chocolate” game!

We saw a survey recently about instant hot chocolate mixes that revealed most people preferred Swiss Miss. I have to say, when I can get it, Tim Horton is our favorite but we always have some Swiss Miss on hand.

However, if you have time and aren’t counting calories for a day or two, here is a recipe that I have given as gifts, served to guests, and at events when I’ve done a hot chocolate bar. It is so good …. RECIPE.

So what is your favorite instant hot chocolate and what is your favorite addition to a steaming mug. Mr. G loves peppermint! I bought a bag of crushed peppermint candy and it does the trick!

Friends, stay warm and safe and enjoy a steaming mug of whatever makes you feel warm and cozy! Until next time…

Champagne Wishes


  1. right now my hands are frozen and inspired by your post to make hot chocolate, love the milk carton idea, your posts are always full of useful information, take care

  2. Teresa,
    I am starting plants from seed this year for the first time in years! I just saw the milk jug idea on the Farmers Almanac page. I love this idea! I will try it with some perennials and let you know how it goes. Love your potting shed. Keep the good blog post coming.

  3. You are so ambitious! It will be 68 degrees here today, but reading about your temps makes me feel cold!! I’m not a huge fan of hot chocolate, but if I were to partake, I think a splash of Bailey’s would be my choice to add!

  4. After reading your blog, I think I will go and have some hot chocolate. My favorite chocolate is Hershey’s. They have the best ice cream, too, as well as candy. I am really looking forward to your blog next week since it is Saint Valentine’s Day on Sunday, February 14. Flowers (roses), cards, and, of course, chocolate. Have you tried the delicious chocolate covered strawberries? And I love the orange-flavored chocolate candy that has individual orange segments. Usually, they are available at Christmas, and the chocolate covered cherries.

  5. When I see what others do to grow things from seed, I realize how fortunate I am that I can just put them out in flats. I needed to protect the flats from heavy rain recently, but otherwise ignore them. ‘Normally’ the weather is rather bland here. (It was wickedly windy recently though.)
    No chocolate here.

Leave a Reply