Green Side Up

Garden talk with Gazette community blogger Janice Peterson.

Deadly frost allows for new beginnings in the garden

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Janice Peterson
Monday, October 28, 2013

I work with a group of young adults from the Janesville Schools CHOICE program (Chestnut House Occupational and Independent Community).  We get together weekly and garden. Last week we started removing frost-bitten plants. Jordan, a CHOICE alumnus who still comes to help summed it up best when he said, “It's so sad to say goodbye”. Last spring he planted a large container with basil, tomatoes and flowers, harvested the produce, and now was removing it all to be composted. He's right, cleaning up beds this time of year is like saying goodbye.

This sparked a conversation among the students about how the changing seasons allow for new beginnings every year. Next spring Jordan will be able to choose different plants and start all over again. Over the winter we Midwesterners relax, drink cocoa and read garden catalogs. By spring we have renewed enthusiasm for getting out in the garden again. It's a gift to live in an area with changing seasons.

By the way, I enlisted my husband to dig out the castor beans a few days before the frost. It really was like taking down small trees! And last Thursday my newly planted gingko, as if on cue, dropped all its leaves in one day. My garden's starting to look pretty bare. It's so sad to say goodbye.

Janice Peterson has worked as a grounds horticulturist at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville since 2002. She is a master gardener with the Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association. Though her education is in plant science, she considers her love of gardening and strong back to be her true qualifications. Janice is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. Her opinion is not necessarily that of The Gazette staff or management.

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