A Note From Rick | Snow’s Insulating Embrace

February 11, 2022

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

I enjoy the sparse winter landscape as much as the lushness of spring, summer and fall.

The architecture of trees, the tracery of branches of trees and shrubs contrast with evergreens and the ice-blue sky. Bridge Gardens is blessed with towering oaks, beeches and hickories as well as venerable white pines, cedar and hollies. Now is a perfect time to enjoy their winter beauty (if you don’t mind a trudge through snow and damp.)


Sculptural tree branches against an icy-blue sky.

Now is also a good time to finish pruning projects started last month. There’s still time to prune fruit trees, blackberries, raspberries and wisteria, as well as trees and shrubs that need shaping or to be reduced in size.


Pruning wisteria on the arbor.

If it’s too cold or snow-covered to work outside, then place your seed and plant orders soon. If you already have seeds, you may want to start some inside. Make sure you have supplies, like peat pots or cell-packs and potting soil like Pro-mix as well as a place with enough light to foster healthy plant growth. Sunny windowsills suffice. Even better are light stands with LED or full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs. And, perhaps a heat mat or two.


Leek and cabbage seedlings

Don’t start seeds too soon. On average, you need at least 6-8 weeks to get a transplantable seedling. Pay attention to last frost dates, officially mid-May around here, and when soil is warm enough for certain crops to grow. Artichokes and cole crops like cabbage and broccoli can be started as early as mid-February. I usually start tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in mid-April for planting out at the end of May or in early June. See my how-to video for all the information you need.


Winter is a time when tree bark stands out and is a good way to identify species. For example, smooth silver gray bark probably belongs to a beech tree, and charcoal colored, squarish scales likely indicate black cherry. You can learn more about trees and the winter landscape by joining us for a walk with arborist Tom Volk of Summerhill Landscapes, on March 12. Details and registration information can be found on our calendar here.


And there is a lot more programming being planned for the season that will help ensure your success this growing season. For now, enjoy a bit of rest and get your plans in place. Bridge Gardens is always a good place to find inspiration, and we’re open every day. The Peconic Land Trust provides this beautiful public space to you free of charge and supports its mission to be a resource for education and the community at large.


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