Gardening Is In The Books: The Woodbook: The Complete Plates

Ahhhh, February you keep coming and we don’t know what to do with you! At this point I am sounding like a broken record, but we keep getting pounded with more snow and the relentless cold won’t let up. This Thursday the high expected for the day is 8 degrees.

So, I can tell you for a fact that I have my work cut out for me this spring. I have lost both my Emerald Green Arborvitae to winter damage. I would love to show you a picture, but I can’t. They are buried under three feet of snow.

To show you I am not making this up, just look at this comparison:

My backyard in early September 2014. Truly blissful.

My backyard in early September 2014. Truly blissful.

To Saturday, February 7, 2015:

I took this yesterday morning. Can you believe this? That's just accumulation, and not shoveled or piled snow!

I took this yesterday morning. Can you believe this?  That’s just accumulation, and not shoveled or piled snow!

Yes, I am afraid I am going to have a lot more damage from winter and deer this year than I have in the past. Well, a few more lessons will be learned this spring, I will detail them all for you!

So, as you can imagine, I have been laying low. This past week was the worst driving to work week in all the years I have been living in the Buffalo Metro area. So, this weekend has been really subdued for me.

This is my uniform on weekends in bitter cold weather:

I have been on a kick this winter purchasing big, woolly warm boot socks like these from Wigwam.

I have been on a kick this winter purchasing big, woolly warm boot socks like these from Wigwam.

Snuggly socks and blankets leave you wanting to do nothing but read. I have been really stoked lately because a couple of weeks ago, I purchased a book that I have actually been looking for in some way, shape or form for a long time. When I read about it in Outside magazine, I couldn’t help myself. I had to buy it!

Now, this is an encyclopedia of trees that will be loved by everyone from gardeners to woodworkers. I am talking about The Woodbook: The Complete Plates. This is a fantastic undertaking by Romeyn B. Hough in the late 19th century – early 20th century. Hough was a doctor and botanist who between 1888-1913 created a 14 volume series that included actual samples from every tree in North America.


This edition of the book was compiled by Klaus Ulrich Leistikow. It has three different “slices” or cuts each of more than 350 trees neatly laid out. This is a multilingual edition that comes in English, French and German. It can be a little confusing, because some trees are referred to by two or more names sometimes, but it lists the description, habitat, type of wood (hard or soft), and use for each one. Informative, thorough, and wonderfully done. It’s been a joy to look through all the plates and see how beautiful the trees really are. This is, as they say, a truly unparalleled work that keeps blowing my mind!

One of the responsibilities of my day job is that I am a graphics/layout designer (not to be confused with a graphic designer) of sorts, and I am getting a ton of inspiration from looking at this book. I have so much to look at and will continue to enjoy this book while I keep getting snowed in!

The Need for Seed and Other Musings – The January Wrap-Up

Here it is, the last week of January is upon us. We are pretty much half way through winter, so lets hope the ole’ groundhog gives us a break this year and predicts that spring will come early! By this time of year, we are all getting cabin fever, heck even my daughter is getting sick of riding her new bike around in circles in the basement. She’s ready for the rubber to meet the road!

After a wild and crazy Saturday night of learning to ride our new bike, it's finally time to take a rest.

After a wild and crazy Saturday night of learning to ride our new bike, it’s finally time to take a rest.

It’s also time to  check in and see if I am practicing what I preached way back when the snow started to fly. Well, I am very proud to say that I am now underway. So here’s a little round-up of what’s been keeping me busy in my world.

1. I am looking at seeds.

I am sure most of you have had your mailboxes inundated with seed catalogs like this:


Yes, now is the time to purchase your seeds to get a jump-start on your growing season. Whether you are going to start your veggies, herbs or some of your favorite flowers, this is the perfect time to purchase them. Why? Because the stores and nurseries are freshly stocked and you will get everything your little heart desires!!


2. I have been putting the pen to paper.

I love words. My life’s work is putting pen to paper. I do it in my job, but I have also been journalizing since I was very young. I currently have four different journals. One of those journals is my garden journal. It has all my musings in regards to my gardens, yard and what I want to do with it all.

Nothing better than a Moleskine. Or two.

Nothing better than a Moleskine. Or two.

3. I purchased some new books.

I remember a time, oh, about ten years ago, when all I did was work, exercise, and read. My love of words never died, it just went on vacation for a few years. I could read at least a book a week at one time. Now, it’s one a year! That’s life for you! But now, things are changing where I can now devote more time for reading and researching than I could before. My time management skills are getting much better the older I get. So, I have some really great books that I will review in the not so distant future, and I am excited to dive in to them.


4. I am getting dynamic inspiration.

This was the year I promised I would get back to being “me”. I took a few years off of being “me” to devote fully to being “mommy”. Before I became a mother, I always worked towards being dynamic. I always wanted to know a little bit about most things just so I would always be able to carry on a conversation with anybody I met. This thinking too, has contributed to the inspiration I get for gardening. It’s amazing the cool things you can think of when you look at the bigger picture!

5. I have been getting outside.

Yes, I have been able get outside a lot more than I have in the past few years, and it has made an incredible difference. I feel more at peace, and get such great joy with walking about the woods in snowshoes, cross-country skiing, or even walking. It’s amazing the effect nature has on you.

So, I guess that’s it in a nutshell. Just a little bit of what I have been working on, and hopefully it will all translate into a great, inspirational, and productive growing season!