The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Well, IT’s Here …


Yesterday we woke up to the first of IT. Today we woke up to IT again. IT is predicted in our weather forecast for the next four days, through Friday. IT is doing its thing right now. [Sigh.] I still have a few bulbs to plant.


Waking up to IT

I didn’t quite finish prepping the beds in the Potager, either. I have just one more bed to compost and “leaf up.” The other I’m still harvesting. I also want to mulch the Asparagus. But I did manage to clean up four of the beds and add a layer of compost and a thick layer of leaves and grass clippings (aka “leafing up”). The garlic is planted and snug under one of those leafy blankets. I also managed to dig up the horseradish. I use its own leaves as a winter cover since they are so large and I can layer them alternately so the wind won’t blow them away – or maybe even use them as a raft or something! Probably not the best idea since diseases can harbor in that cover but I am not even aware of any horse radish afflictions and it always grows like mad.


During my clean up attempts I discovered that I killed a small Alberta Spruce due to my neglect. [Sigh.] You see the raspberries are planted behind the greenhouse. I was going to move them after we put up the greenhouse but then, well, Summer happened. And well, wild grapes grow on the fence line. I had some Tansy planted next to the raspberries because I read somewhere (forgive me, I do not remember where) that Tansy is a good companion plant for raspberries. And there is some Lemon Balm growing in that little strip of border along the fence before the path. Well, all of it went quite wild and became an entangled mess. Before I knew it, the raspberry vines were growing into the greenhouse through the vents! I couldn’t even make my way behind the greenhouse. That poor little tree was snuffed right out. Whew, confessions of a killer gardener, relief. I will move those raspberries come Spring because I already have a spot planned, prepped and mapped out for them – that helps – A LOT. And I have another poor little Alberta Spruce that isn’t quite yet snuffed out. I think I will move it and add another on either side of the greenhouse to make it all quaint and formal in this wild patch of my world. I’m actually looking forward to it.

[Sigh.] Anyway, I thought maybe I would escape IT but I haven’t migrated soon enough. But this is what I love about the garden: I venture out and begin walking through it admonishing myself for things yet undone, swearing at this other four letter word, and then it slowly works its magic and I am captivated. IT is really quite beautiful and peaceful – the world is hushed. The Pin Oak still has some of its leaves and they are now a deep shade of red.


A last Hydrangea bloom.


Calendulas still bloom in the Potager.



I still have many greens in the Potager, too, which we will eat up before we migrate either sautéed or in morning smoothies. Brussels, too. IT will bring out their flavor.


Siberian Kale, Collards and Broccoli Rabe


My favorite Lacinato Kale



I am admiring all the berries I have now in the garden. I thought I might get a good picture of the Winterberry but those birds snuck in and scarfed up every last one of the red berries. The orange, Winter Gold, still remain but will be gone by Winter’s end.

Winter Gold


Cranberry Viburnum


Crabapple Purple Prince

Unknown “mega” crabapple


Yellow Twig Dogwood

I know the birds will eat these fruits while I migrate. I am comforted when I see the gold finches and sparrows feeding among the Black-eyed Susans and Helianthus even though a bird feeder sits just a few feet away. I know when the feeder is empty, the garden will still provide.


Time to serve up the pumpkins, too. [Sigh.] IT’s here …



Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

14 thoughts on “Well, IT’s Here …

  1. When is the migration…we’ve had snow since Friday and it is still snowing although a bit warmer….no migration for us. And you will get some nice weather I think next week to finish.

    • Oh, thank you Donna. I really hope to “finish” this year! I want to add some greens to my window boxes, too, even if we won’t be here. Migration in just 10 days! It really is a pretty snow. I don’t mind – as long as the Wicked Wind isn’t blowing.

  2. I just barely got all my bulbs planted before IT came. There is a lot of garden clean-up that didn’t get done. Glad to see you stopped beating yourself up by the end of the post. And I somehow didn’t realize that you migrated.

    • It is my very first migration and I must say I am looking quite forward to it! I am glad to see a little of IT before I take off but a little is enough. I will miss the birds and the garden and hope my houseplant experiment is successful – of which I will post about.

  3. Hi Kathy, Enjoy snowbirding! I’ve never done it but hope to in the future. We have snow and cold here too. Your berries look pretty with snow and ice cover. 🙂

  4. I read that there will be a fair amount of lake effect snow at the end of the week. Your escape is eminent – lucky you!

    • Nothing is going to keep us here Eliza – including lake effect! Actually the lake effect snow is beautiful. It’s the windy blowy snow that is unnerving. That wind sure is blowing – she is so wicked!

  5. I just discovered your blog and enjoyed this post so much. You can have positive feeling about IT, and that is hard for me to do, cos I really don’t like IT. But IT will come, regardless.

    • Thank you Sarasinart! I don’t mind IT. I do mind the Wicked Wind of the West and she’s high and mighty today and all last night – I’m coming unraveled. At least neither of us live in Buffalo NY!

  6. Hi Kathy
    I enjoyed you post a lot because IT is here of course with its scratchy wind and bitter cold and my garden was also not completely ready for it. I put a lot of hours trying to finish at the last moment but it wasn’t enough. It appears that I created a monster. Would you be so kind to tell me what variety of collards you’ve grown and liked in your garden? I want to add them to my repertoire for next year

  7. Oh my..when did this happen-lol..before you-ME!!!! I am like you far behind + well, you posted all my feelings as to what I never got to do….( long sigh)..the four letter word arrived and I am disappoined,roo- I did not get done what I needed to do…your sprouts look beautiufil!!! I need to give the green ones a try for I tried red….well, the wind is blowing and I am heading out to get my dog out of this cold—brrrr…it is dippping in the single digits at night + teens daytime-if that !!! Your winter berries are lovely:-)

  8. Maybe we should change it from four letter word to IT!!! much shorter which I hope it is this year:-) lol

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