Winter sowing has finally begun. Probably, like you, February is a month where my plans for the garden and the reality of summertime and energy clash.

Starting seeds inside under grow lights is extremely fun for me but, there is a lot of time between start to finish on that process and the end of that process gets a little tricky and requires the gardener to be very engaged.

So, in comes winter sowing! Seriously, it is a very easy and economical way to get a ton of seedlings up and ready for planting with minimal work for the gardener. Last year was the first time I tried it although so many of my fellow master gardeners raved about the process! At first, I was concerned that my garden would look “unsightly” with all those water jugs strewn about. But this year I am embracing the milk jug garden art even more than last year. Every time I see them I am giddy with anticipation of what is to come. If you’d like to know more about the Winter Sowing Method and what I did last year, read on here.

My cutting garden is the main focus of winter sowing. The cutting garden is a raised bed directly behind the herb garden that will be home to the dahlias I chatted about last week. In my “winter gardener’s dream state,” I see hundreds and hundreds of blooms to pick! Oh, did I forget to mention the zinnias? Well, I think they are getting a new space so there’s more room for them to be their best selves. 


  • Lavender
  • Bachelor Buttons
  • Candytuft
  • Delphinium
  • Daucus
  • Scabiosa
  • Verbena
  • Orlaya 
  • Nicotiana
  • Larkspur
  • Phacelia
  • Poppies
  • Foxgloves

If these all do well, I’ll have enough for the cutting garden and to add to the borders! A bit later in the season, I am going to try sowing tomatoes using this method. 

Potting day process looks like this…

In other potting shed news, the basil and Lisianthus seeds are up and looking sooo sooo cute. 

REALITY CHECK: CRITTERS (or varmints as my dad would say)

We’ve talked about how all the critters from miles around showed up to have lunch – regularly. I have Mr. G working on some sort of easy to move around fencing so that my babies will have a better chance of survival against the cats, groundhogs, raccoons, o’possums, rabbits and deer. Yes, our critter cam caught all of them munching on my babies last year or in the case of the cats … having way too much fun scratching around – if you know what I mean. 😏

I also purchased several mesh wire wastebaskets (Link) to use as cloches for protecting small plants. I know my parsley will need extra help and the Daucus. Everyone loves anything in the carrot family!


This quote says, “if you have a garden and library you have everything you need”. Well, that is isn’t quite true for me, however, books are a huge part of my gardening experience. 

In January I pull out some of my favorite books where the author takes a month-by-month approach. The best one is Rosemary Verey’s, A Country Woman’s Year. When I read her words, I am transformed to her time and place. And want to be where she is and meet who she meets and see what she sees.

Rosesmary’s words from “FEBRUARY”…

Philip Miller, gardener to the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries at the Botanic Garden at Chelsea, wrote in 1732 that December was the darkest month of the whole year. Adding up the hours of darkness I am sure he must be right but for me February is the most dreary month. We are almost at the end of the tunnel and perhaps it is the accumulation of dark days that do their best to get me down. Luckily they do not succeed as there are wonderful promises to come. Yesterday as I drove down Welch Way, a 200 year old lane near our village, I got out of my car to examine the nut trees. They grow on each side of the lane making a wonderful canopy, joining hands in the middle. At night, headlights full on, you feel as though you are driving through a magic tunnel.

Okay, who wants to join me for a trip to see the nut trees? 

Another author who has the ability to transform me with her words is Christie Purifoy

GARDEN MAKER … Growing a Life of Beauty & Wonder with Flowers

I liken her new book to walking at daybreak in the morning fog, coffee in hand to take in all the nuances of the quiet garden. Few things are more enchanting to me than foggy mornings. Christie’s book is filled with all the feels of an enchanting morning stroll with a friend where there’s endless time for garden talk.


Garden friends, I would love to give one of you a copy of Christie’s book. Actually, I’d like to give all of you a copy but of course, I can’t do that. All you have to do to be added to the drawing is leave a comment below and share a favorite garden book. Deadline March 1. (US addresses only.)


Friends, have a wonderful week, and don’t forget to leave a comment about your favorite book! Happy Valentine’s Day.


  1. Favorite gardening book? Anything by Christopher Lloyd, or the original Organic Gardening book on food crops (can’t remember the name; it was done by the guy who started Organic Gardening magazine).

  2. This is my second year doing Wintersowing, I’m sowing snapdragons, lupine, viola and poppy. I discovered through the book “Cool Flowers” the incredible amount of flower seeds that are hardy cold that I can plant in my zone 7a before the last frost. Cannot wait for the weather to get warmer; I’m planting peonies for the first time.

  3. Such a treat to read your posts. I am new to gardening and am looking forward to someday having a garden that is a “riot of flowers”. Liz from southern Louisiana

    1. My favorite book has to be The Flower Book by Rachel Siegfried. Let the beauty of each bloom speak for itself. Wonderful photographs and helpful hints.

  4. I love winter sowing. My patio is full of water jugs, salad greens containers, etc. one of my favorite gardening books is Tasha Tudor’s Garden.

  5. One of my favorite books is Empress of the Garden by G Michael Shoup. It is a very large book filled with beautiful photos, interesting facts and histories of an array of roses. I can’t help but think of how many of us who read your blog feel the same way about you that you mentioned about Rosemary Verey – “I am transformed to her time and place. And want to be where she is and meet who she meets and see what she sees.” Thank you for sharing a part of “you” in each of your blogs.

  6. Very inspiring!! A favorite of mine, more of a devotional than a ‘how-to’ is Down A Garden Path by Karla Dornacher. I got to meet the author last year as she was out on a road trip! She ‘camped’ in front of my garden!

  7. Goodness, have you seen the weather for the Superbowl? It is hard to complain while the weather is so pleasant, but winter was just TOO brief. It is not good for much of the landscapes.

  8. Favorite gardening books include. A Time to Blossom, Moments in the Garden, the private world of Tasha Tudor,….oh there are so many!

  9. My favorite gardening book is by Felder Rushing, Pass a Long Plants. It is filled with wonderful anecdotes about gardening. Felder is a very entertaining writer!

  10. “Beautiful American Rose Gardens” (Mary T Dorra); “Listen to the Land: Creating a Southern Woodland Garden” (Louise Agee Wrinkle); “Eden On Their Minds: American Gardeners with Bold Visions” (Starr Ockenga); “The American Woodland Garden” (Rick Darke); “Roses in the Southern Garden” (Michael Shoup)—and so many more are books on which I’ve almost worn the letters off the pages by reading and dreaming over.

  11. Dear Teresa,
    I am so impressed with your water jug idea. It is so clever and such an easy way to get ready for spring. I am eager to try it.
    As a novice to growing roses, I tend to read magazines more than books. I also like my Better Homes and Garden Book, The New Garden. It is like an encyclopedia of plants.

  12. Happy Saint Valentine’s Day to you and Mr. G. My favorite gardening book is “The Gardening Year” by Lance Hattatt. There are 256 pages and the most beautiful photographs of flowers, plants, trees, shrubs, and roses that I have ever seen (all in color and identification of each). He takes you through each stage or month of gardening throughout the year. It is mesmerizing.

  13. T, I have many coffee table garden books, but my fav is the one you sent to me years ago…”Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden” and her advice about having a husband who gladly pays for her garden projects! 😉

  14. I love Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden or any of the books by Erin Benzakein. Thanks for introducing us to one of your favorites

  15. Hi, as so many have added, Tasha Tudor is one of my favorite garden books, her flower gardens were organized chaos, with beautiful illustrations many of which were in her delightful childrens books. Another wonderful book is the life of beatrix potter, her garden story is the basis for the Peter rabbit stories. Just so wonderful. Thank you Theresa, you are inspiring.

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