I garden all year round. Three-quarters of the year I garden outside but for a few months in the winter, from late fall to early spring, I garden indoors.
In what used to be my darkroom, I now have LED grow lights so I can overwinter my tropicals & grow cuttings from my summer garden. I use timers to turn the lights on and off to match the daylight hours outdoors since some plants are daylight and some are temperature driven.
It was an easy retooling of the darkroom since I already had a sink and water in the room with counter space and cabinets. The room isn’t heated so I believe it was originally a root cellar when the house was built in 1942. That it doesn’t freeze and stays cool allows for a reduction in disease & pests when the room is too warm. The year that I changed from fluorescent lighting to LED’s was transformational in that the room stayed cooler which reduced the incidence of scale, mites, aphids and fungus.
Beginning in March I pot up all my elephant ears to give them a head start for outdoor planting once the weather reaches 50 degrees. Slowly I bring some of the pots out of the plant room to help them adjust to natural lighting.
By April I have brought all my large containers out of the garage and refreshed the soil to make them ready for planting. In May, depending on the plant, I begin to fill the deck containers with the overwintered plants, grooming them where necessary. There is not much all-day direct sun in that area of the deck but as a precaution, I do not put the newly planted contributions into the sun immediately, instead, I gradually introduce them to the new lighting.
All my largest containers are on wheeled bases so I can easily redesign the display as the season progresses. The growth of the grouping is astonishing as the season progresses which I often don’t realize except when I review my garden photos looking for inspiration for my studio.
Sitting outside looking at this summer display while having my afternoon coffee break gives me time to think about how lucky I am to be in my garden all year round. Whether in the summer knee deep in flowers, in my winter plant room inhaling the smell of the soil and plantings, or in my studio painting the inspiration these flowers share with me.