1 A nice shot of Gyurme, Chhiring, and Phurba all bundled up and working in the herbaceous peony garden, which is enclosed in a boxwood hedge all snuggled beneath its burlap covering.
2 Herbaceous peonies die back to their roots in the autumn and the beds have been cleared of the shriveled growth. Here Ryan is feeding the beds with azomite and triple-super phosphate, to promote strong growth in the spring.
3 The beds were covered with a thick layer of rich compost after the fertilizer had been sprinkled on. Chhiring was waiting for a new load of compost. The temperatures rose to below freezing after hovering close to 0ºF all week long. Notice Chhiring isn't wearing his warm jacket?
4 Pete arrived from the compost yard with another load and the wheel barrows were filled.
5 The compost was dumped onto the beds and spread out neatly.
6 The beds look nice and neat and the compost protects them from frost heave. Plus, the rich nutrients of the compost and the fertilizer beneath will absorb into the soil benefiting the plants below.
7 The long bed along the driveway leading to my house has also been cleared and composted. It, too, looks neat and trim.
8 Wilmer was busy in the shade garden near the Tenant House getting it ready for it's winter composting.
9 These apple trees have been standing for more than 50 years. They were recently given their annual pruning for better apple production in the spring. I love their form.
10 This is the large recessed cement bird bath.
11 Unfortunately, birds must find water elsewhere, as this is frozen solid. The streams in the woods are still gurgling in places and I hope the birds are finding water there.
12 The miniature donkeys aren't too fond of the snow, but the cold doesn't seem to phase them. Rufus and Clive sauntered over to say hello.
13 Hi there, Clive!
14 Billy finally peeked from around the little shelter.
15 The allee of linden was terribly overgrown and it was pruned in December along with the apple trees. I think the pruning looks really great and will allow much more sunlight to reach the flower beds beneath.
16 The beehives are wrapped with black roofing material to keep out the cold and to absorb the warmth of the sun. The hives have also been moved to this protective nook, away from the frigid north winds.
17 Amazingly, despite the freezing temperatures, some bees have ventured outdoors.
18 The heated tropical greenhouse is just that - quite tropical indoors.
19 A quick look shows plants flourishing in the warm and humid environment.
20 The chickens don't seem to mind the cold. Their houses, where they are confined at night, are warmed with heat lamps.
21 The groves of weeping willow seem to be colorful all year long, even during the coldest of winters!
22 Some trees, like beech and oak, retain their leaves well into the winter. Botanists call this retention of dead plant matter marcescence, and there are differing theories as to why this occurs.
23 My living compound
24 And the stable
25 Let's have a look inside the citrus hoop house, which, by the way, is fragrantly sweet-smelling. I picked lots of lemons, limes, and oranges the other day.
26 These blossoms belong to a Meyer lemon tree and their aroma is intoxicating!
27 These kumquats are ripening.
28 These are Ponderosa lemons, which get quite large.
29 Because we had so many fallen trees from Hurricane Sandy, I wanted to use tree rounds to elevate the pots to varying heights. The pots fit much better in the hoop house this way.
30 Also in the hoop house are beautiful cymbidium orchids.
31 A lovely pink variety
32 Next door, the vegetable greenhouse is growing nicely. Special hothouse varieties of tomatoes and cucumbers are growing in the large black pots along the side.
33 At day's end, compost was delivered to the shade garden where Wilmer had been clearing earlier.
34 The rich compost was steaming!
35 Spreading it nicely