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Indoors & Out
Details | Back Flap
by James Cramer & Dean Johnson
Dimensions (in inches): 9.5 X 10.5.
Full-Color Photographs Throughout
180 Pages, Hardcover.
Head Start On Spring
3 cups sand
3 cups peat moss
2 cups vermiculite
1 cup horticultural charcoal
To Lift Your Spirits In Winter, when you're dying to dig in the dirt but can't get out in the garden, try forcing bulbs in an indoor window box. Hyacinths, paperwhite narcissus, tete-a-tete daffodils, and amaryllis can all be grown this way.
Line the box with a plastic liner, available at garden centers; choose one with no plugs, or with removable plugs left in, so the box becomes waterproof. Fill it with a layer of small stones, top with the soil mixture, then space bulbs several inches apart. The same procedure can be followed with individual containers.
Here in this corner of Western Maryland, summer has an energy all its own. The fever of spring throttles down to a steady hum, and the crackling heat of July and August takes over.
At Seven Gates, the gardens have a mind of their own by now. Everything we so carefully planted in spring erupts in full glory, sometimes in reckless ways we hadn't anticipated. Our job now is just to keep things within bounds.
The plants in containers need more care. Window boxes miss out on most of the rainfall because of the overhand of the roof, so even when the ground is soaked we still make our rounds with the watering can and hose to make sure very plant gets a drink.
People often ask us where we get our inspiration. The answer is twofold: We collect old gardening books - when it comes to gardening, the wisdom of yesterday never goes out of style. And we're always looking for new places to check out. Last summer we spent two weeks visiting gardens in the English countryside. And we spend a fair amount of time in Shepherdstown. West Virginia, just across the border from us; its wealth of stone houses, charming street scenes, an abundance of window boxes, not to mention the shopping and restaurants, draw us back again and again.
We sketch our gardens to remember how they looked when we're planting the following year. When we're on the run, we rely on the camera to do our remembering for us. In England we took a lot of photos to capture a landscape, the color of a house, the design of a shutter, a charming planter. And we always keep a camera in the car, just in case.
In late summer, we feed the window boxes and the gardens with 20-20-20 fertilizer, to force the last blooms from the flowers and grant us a final display of color and greenery. Then as the curtain falls on the season, everything gets a good pruning. We used to do this promptly, bringing on fall as soon as we could. But with every passing year, we're slowing the pace, holding on to the glory of summer for as long as we possibly can.