Leonard Moorehead, the Urban Gardener: Wreaths From the Garden
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Honey, it’s cold outside, let’s go into the garden and fashion wreaths. Dress in layers wear hats and gloves. Leave cocoa on the counter, cookies too, we must keep our strength. Lift up your hearts. Wreaths are simple and easy to make. Imagination is the chief ingredient. Involve children and others, the circular wreath encloses all.
Rummage around the potting shed. Old garden hoses kept for “just in case” are fine frameworks for wreaths. Scavenge wireframes, upcycle old picture frames, or weave vines into the just oh so perfect shape. Gardeners resort to grape arbors, trumpet vines, kiwis, and ivy for pliable basics. Cull overgrown vines from last summer’s apogee and make the winter nadir. From now on, we’re summer bound.
Why grow sage or hollies? Wreath making for sure! Gather wreath materials from borders and shrubbery. Don’t venture into scarce green spaces or neighbor’s yards without permission. Look no further than the garden. Select silver gray sage branches, festive red berried holly branches, use long grapevines from arbors, pull rampant kiwis from nearby fruit trees. Prune back now for future growth, our annual orbit of birth and renewal is in the garden.
Wreaths offer long life spans. Arbor vitae and box are common coniferous shrubs and trees. Arbor vitae foliage retains its green luster throughout frigid arctic gales. Each part of Arbor vitae is fragrant. Note the small pine cones among the waxy foliage. Or switch over to the native cedars reclaiming disturbed soils. Prune selectively, always distribute cutting over the entire shrub rather than one region. Blue juniper berries are welcome additions to indoor and outdoor herbal wreaths. Rose hips; especially, Rosa Ragusa, offer red color. Fresh or dried rose hips are rich in vitamin C, infused in hot water, rose hips are good for gardeners and companions.
Hollies have the stamp of tradition. No winter garden is complete without a trio of hollies. Plant 2 female hollies and a male for cross-pollination. Consider neighbors, a male holly pollinates within a 100 feet radius regardless of fences. Hollies offer a wide range of foliage shapes and colors. Deep bluish green onwards to variegated white and green leaves are common cultivars. Select varieties with the winter garden in mind. Hollies anchor the garden and few are as charming when snow blankets the mulch.
Hollies tolerate a lot of pruning. Shape the small trees, allow for good air circulation around the base. Prune just above leaf buds. Lateral shoots will respond twice as heartily at each stem cut.
Holly boughs are thirsty. Trim stems at an angle, strip away nearby foliage and keep in water. Renew water as needed, avoid drying out. Holly foliage will remain vibrant throughout the holiday season into the New Year. Red ribbons compliment holly, strung cranberries offer another traditional aspect to wreaths and hollies.
Good winter clothing opens the garden during the winter. Wear hats and gloves. Layers conserve body heat, allow plenty of room for movement, remove or add layers as needed. Properly dressed gardeners spend more time outdoors in the spaces they love so well, the garden.
We are rarely alone in our gardens. Sparrows colonize rhododendrons and bamboo. Blue jays and chickadees offer constant comments. Woodpeckers groom our trees, each grub they consume is one less pest on the apricots, pears and peaches. Observe stems and trucks visible in winter. Broken branches are best removed. Melt wax over cut wood or wrap in duct tape. Cover wounds in tree bark, a patch will discourage pests and diseases from entering the plant’s system.
Spray dormant oil mixtures onto fruit trees. Jump at the chance to spray oils on dry, wind free days. Mix the dormant oil mixture indoors and bring outside to spray warm. The oils will thicken on fruit tree bark. The oils will suffocate disease spores and insect eggs. Renew environmentally friendly oil sprays a couple times while fruit trees are dormant. An ounce of prevention now pays handsomely next growing season.
Carry snippers in a pocket. Prune away water sprouts, open fruit trees for easy picking next summer. Cut back leggy or tall shoots. Fruit trees respond well to heavy pruning. Lusty regrowth fills in gaps with fruit bearing branches. Gather up pruned twigs and branches. Weave into long-lasting wreaths.
It’s difficult to keep gardeners out of the garden. Harvest winter greenery and herbs. Weave natural elements onto found or home- made frames. Breath in crisp winter air, feel the winter’s sunlight. Give wreaths of any size or shape to others. We’re all enclosed in the circle of life. Look into any garden and find the wreath best for you. Be generous, life is.
Related Slideshow: 25 Things to do in New England This Winter - 2016
Go tubing, skiing or snowboarding on the different terrains of Ski Ward.
New to the mountain? You can learn how to ride with lessons from their instructors or perfect your technique if you happen to be more experienced. And don't forget to take the whole family out to Slope side Bar and Grill after a long day in the snow.
Photo: Ski Ward
Newport, Rhode Island
From February 12 to 21, Newport will be hosting the 28th annual Newport Winter Festival throughout Newport County. Hosting events like Beatlemania, chili cook-off, the Winter Festival is 10 days of music and over 150 events, providing fun for the entire family.
Photo courtesy of Newport Winter Festival
Dog Sled Tours at New England Dog Sledding
Mason Township, Maine
Embrace the call of the wind and head to New England Dog Sledding for some dog sled tours. Tours are pulled by trained and "very friendly" Alaskan Husky sled dogs and are offered throughout the Bethel, Maine and North Conway,New Hampshire areas. You can also enjoy skijoring, which is nordic skiing pulled by a dog, so you can bring your own or rent one of theirs!
Curling at Ocean State Curling Club
Try something new, like curling.
The Ocean State Curling Club has your curling fix. Hosting events and tournaments or "bonspiels" at the Veteran’s Memorial Ice Rink in Cranston, RI, the Ocean State Curling Club is a "social club for anyone interested in recreational curling." The club also offers lessons for those who want to learn the sport.
It's practically a tradition for a lot of people but ice fishing is an interesting winter experience. Head out to the ponds and see what you can get.
But be safe, it takes 4-6 inches of ice to support a person and 8-10 inches to support a vehicle.
Photo courtesy of Dushan Hanuska/flickr
Ice Climbing with Adventure Spirit
For the adventurous out there, Adventure Spirit in Vermont is your place for ice climbing. Choose from climbing at Bolton Quarry, Bristol Cliffs or even Smuggler's Notch to be lead by one of their experienced instructors. Be prepared to spend your day strenuously climbing some of nature's frozen streams and flow offs. They also offer alpine climbing and outdoor rock climbing for those who wish to fully test their limits.
Cross Country Skiing
East Bay Bike Path, Bristol to Providence RI
Grab your poles and skis and head down to the East Bay Bicycle Path for some Cross Country Skiing. Of course, you can go cross country skiing anywhere there is snow and some flat land, but the East Bay Bike Path stretches about 14 miles from Bristol to India Point Park in Providence.
The 16th Annual Lowell Winterfest is set to take place on February 19 and 20th.
The schedule f events includes free ice skating, an opening ceremony and a big winter carnival that the kids will simply love.
Ice Sculptures, a fire dance and a city hall lighting also highlight the festival.
For those who can't ski or snowboard, snowshoeing is another way to get around in the snow. Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire ski resorts have designated snowshoeing facilities, but the best part is you can strap into a pair and walk around anywhere snow is too deep for boots.
Sledding in Central MA
Last year, Central Mass was hit with a record amount of snow. While we are not wishing for that again, it did make for some great sledding hills.
When snow comes again this year, break out the sleds.
Here is GoLocal's latest list of great sledding spots in Central Mass.
Jump Around at Launch Trampoline Park
Need to get some energy out? or get the energy out of your kids? Head to Launch Trampoline Park. They have a park in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
With dodgeball, basketball, foam pits and more, indoor trampoline parks have something to offer people of all ages. Whether you want to bring a group of children for the day, or sign up a group of adults for some "xtreme" dodgeball, trampoline parks can be a great change of pace and a fun way to try something new.
Indoor Rock Climbing
Do you need a new challenge this winter? Try one of New England's indoor rock climbing gyms. Whether you choose Rock Spot Climbing in Rhode Island, Carabiner's in Massachusetts, or Vertical Dreams in New Hampshire, rock climbing is a fun and challenging way to get some exercise without running on treadmills.
Give to the Community
While the winter holidays are generally the biggest volunteer days of the year, any day of the year is a great time to give to organizations or people in need. The winter season is sometimes when items like food, clothes, blankets and other things are needed the most.
Click here for how to give back to RI non profits.
Click here for how to give back to Mass non profits.
Providence Winter Restaurant Weeks will be held until January 23 features about 80 restaurants offering three-course, prix fixe lunches for $14.95 and three-course prix fix dinners for $29.95 and $34.95.
Participating restaurants include Siena in Smithfield, Matunuck Oyster Bar, Eleven Forty Nine Restaurant, The Dorrance, Capriccio, Capital Grille and more.
Day and Night Skiing at Wachusett Mountain
Make the best of winter by strapping on your skis or snowboard. With over 25 trails open, Wachusett also lights up 18 of these trails until 10pm for night skiing. Wachusett has rentals and lessons for beginners and terrain parks and even an air bag for advanced skiers and boarders. Night tubing is an option during speical events, too!
Take a Nature Walk at Squam Lakes
Holderness, New Hampshire
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH offers a wide arrange of guided tours of live animal trails. A staff naturalist leads and teaches groups how certain animals are adapted to the winter climate in New Hampshire. The guided tours are run on weekends and can be a great way to experience and learn more about nature in New England.
Photo: Doug Brown/Flickr
Lace up the skates, grab your favorite jersey and stick and hit the frozen ponds for some hockey. Maybe just some one on one action or grab a bunch of friends and play a full scale game.
Either way enjoy the ice.
But be safe, But be safe, it takes 4-6 inches of ice to support a person.
Photo courtesy of yooperann/flckr
Mount Washington, Bretton Woods New Hampshire
Soar down Mount Washington on a series of tree-top zip lines! The Canopy Tour is lead by one of Bretton Woods Adventure Guides as they describe the native fauna and flora. You'll descend over 1000 feet of elevation on this 3 hour tour. Each tour guide can take a group of up to 8, so grab some friends and zip down the mountain!
Get the House Organized
The weather isn't great, it's freezing out side. Winter presents a great opportunity to get the house organized. It's not the most fun thing in the world of course, but it will pay off and at the end of it, you will be glad you did it.
Here are some ways to get organized this winter.
Forget about winter by painting a picture of a tropical sunset at Paint and Vino, Rhode Island's first paint and wine studio. Bring children for family paint events and parties, or leave them at home to enjoy complimentary "adult beverages" as you paint. Perfect for date night, girls night out or a fun friday night, Paint and Vino's classes run for 2 1/2 to 3 hours and a spot must be reserved.
Photo: Yelp Inc./Flickr
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