Winterberry Farm Primitives

This blog is now devoted to gardening with native plants with a focus on those species native to the east coast of the United States. With an MS in Agricultural Science from the University of Delaware and my love of native plants, I hope to help folks see the beauty and necessity of using native plants in your garden instead of exotic plants. Did you know that our native song birds and native insects are disappearing as our local environments continue to change?
For those who come to this page to see my 'Winterberry Farm Primitives' blog can now be found at where I will post new additions to my online antiques shop at and discuss various subjects about primitive antiques.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Front Garden, Waiting for Spring - February 2014

It is now nearing the end of February and the snow covering my front garden is now gone (for now). We are expecting more snow tomorrow but it is to be only a small storm and we are not to have more than 2" of snow. As you can see in the pictures, the snow has uncovered not only the leaves and leaf mulch covering my garden but it has also uncovered some of the things left over from the holidays.... As the snow cover leaves the garden, the leaf mulch will continue to protect and warm the plants and the seeds that are readying themselves for the spring thaw and the exponential growth that happens at this time of the year. The next two pictures show the front garden from two different perspectives and I will try to copy these exact shots throughout the rest of this year. I have several ideas for the annual vines that I want to use on the tobacco lath fence that surrounds the garden and even though these plants are not native to the east coast of the United States, they are native to parts of the southern US, Mexico, and South/Central America. I am thinking about adding two or three vines to add variety to the garden. I have ordered seeds of four different vines from Swallowtail Gardens that should be here soon and I can't wait to get them in the ground when the weather breaks and the ground warms up in May. The first is called the Canary Bird vine (Tropaeolum peregrinum) and it is a gorgeous yellow color that can grow up to 10-12 feet long. It's bright yellow color and interesting flower will add light to the garden and will attract bees and other insects. The next one is the Cardinal Vine (Ipomoea mulitifida) and is a cousin to our Morning Glory vine and the sweet potato of Thanksgiving fame. It has bright green thin feathery leaves and a bright red flower that will match well with the Canary Bird vine. It is also a hummingbird 'magnet' and along with my native honeysuckle vines (Lonicera sempervirens) that already attract hummingbirds to my back gardens, I should have clouds of these wonderful native birds buzzing all around my yard. To add to that beauty of color and texture, I am thinking of adding the firecracker or Spanish flag vine (Ipomoea lobata) another cousin of the Morning Glory vine with a tall, vibrant multi-color flower that stands high above the leaves of this gorgeous vine. A close up of the flowers show the reason for the common name of Firecracker Vine. I can see them standing at attention above the spikes of my tobacco lath fence. I also have one more vine that I may add to the bottom of a couple of trees to allow it to wind its way up through the trees for another burst of color and it is the Cypress Vine and in this instance the seeds are of a Cypress Vine 'mix' (Ipomoea quamoclit) which, I think, means the mixture of three colors that could be either the white, pink, or red color of each individual flower. It also attracts hummingbirds so I hope this front garden will be a hummingbird haven. That's all for now! More pics once the seeds come in and I start purchasing more perennial native plants to add to the ones that are already in the ground waiting for that first warm spring day. Next time....a bit of a list of what is already in the garden and how to grow these wonderful native plants!

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