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Well, I suppose it is what much of modern society would call the new year, but it feels the same to me, i.e., cold. I never saw much point in making a big fuss about a new year. As any gardener knows, the year is a cycle – every day is a new year.

Anyway, the past December has been unusually cold and snowy, at least compared to the past twelve or so years. On the other hand, when I first moved to this area (from the tropics) twenty-three years ago, most winters were like this, so to me this is what winter is supposed to be like. Older people whom I have dragged down memory lane tend to agree. We’ve simply gotten spoiled by the relatively mild winters that global warming has recently brought us.

However, I’m now getting a little worried about the roses; I mulched them as I always do, but did not burlap any of them, so I’m a bit nervous that some of them might not make it through to spring. On the other hand, they’re all under a foot of snow, and a thick cover of snow is excellent insulation (odd as that may sound), so I might be fussing about nothing.

Other than that, there isn’t much to say because at this time of year there is very little outdoor gardening in these parts. My houseplants are doing okay, although the jasmines (Jasminum sambac) got their dose of whitefly over a month sooner than usual. This is both odd and annoying, because this year (last fall, now) I did a complete soil change as well as the usual pruning and dousing with insecticidal soap.

The biggest “news” about the indoor gardening is my new light garden a.k.a. grow-light stand. I wasn’t willing to shell out nearly a grand for a fancy-schmancy system, so I went to a certain well-known Swedish furniture store and got a shelf unit, then bought a half dozen fluorescent plant lights from the local hydroponics shop. A few more incidentals, such as a package of reflective material to make a cover (also from the hydroponic shop) and a power bar, and I have my own light garden that perfectly fits my needs, for less than one-half of the price of the fancy one (of comparable size).

It’s wonderful having it, because it can hold all the smaller things that otherwise tend to get crammed in amongst other houseplants, and sometimes get lost or overlooked. Having the cover is also very good to hold in the humidity and warmth, the lack of which the smaller plants often suffer from in our cool, dry, centrally-heated homes. There is even a shelf free, which will be a useful addition to seed-starting in April.

I guess that’s it for now.

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