The Arch City Gardener

Journeys In St. Louis Gardening and Beyond

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Wordless Wednesday: I Spy Green






Winter Attractions

I know I’ve mentioned this a time or two, but I am not a fan of the St. Louis winter. I’ve said it, you’ve read it and as my dear sister–and thousands of others–is fond of saying, “It is what it is.”

That’s why I seek color in the winter landscape. Yes, I’ve planted winterberry…it gives a paltry yield on its berries (more on that later). And I leave my grasses in place for “winter interest,” even though they aren’t very colorful. I delight at the bright red cardinals that frolic throughout the cold landscape.

Outside, I hang a lovely holiday wreath chock full of pretty ornaments, pine cones, seed pods and a colorful ribbon.

And I love my pot with the red-twig dogwood and birch branches. I fill it with winter greens from my yard and Christmas tree. My friend and walking buddy Mary invites me to her yard to cut holly, boxwood and other greens to fill in the container. As the winter wears on, I remove the brown sprigs.


Soon, I will empty the container which will remain bare until spring. The dogwood twigs and birch come from a farmers market in Kirkwood and are a pricey, so I keep the birch and the dogwood twigs in the garage and will reuse them next year if they are in good shape.

Inside, I turn to winter bulbs such as amaryllis and paper whites. I am not a fan of the overpowering scent of paper whites so I try to buy the ones with less scent to them, but I’m a sucker for their flowers. And I don’t mind the flopping over; a pretty ribbon can help keep them in place.


My friend Chris is not a fan of our winters either. Her solution is to head to Mexico for the winter. This year as she was dashing out of town, she gave me an amaryllis bulb a friend gave to her. I gladly took it. And I am grateful for its lovely flowers. I took picture and sent them to her during its growing cycle.



I love the way a plant unfurls from its bud. It evokes a sense of anticipation within me and I find myself checking back regularly.

Amaryllis 2018

Before you know it, the plant has a cluster of bright red blooms.


How do you get through the winter doldrums?



A Cure for the Winter Blues

Orchid 7 2018I’ve got the winter doldrums. I’ve had enough of our gray, damp and chilly St. Louis winter. There’s really no snow to speak of during a St. Louis winter. We might get an occasional ice storm to make our pulses race a bit and remind us that we are alive, but mostly winter here is just a whole lot of blah. This year’s has been punctuated by some extremely cold temperatures so I’ve spent much of it more housebound than usual.

But there is a cure.

In late February when you’re just about bored to death, the Missouri Botanical Garden hosts its annual orchid show. And what a lovely sight it is. MoBot is home to one of the largest orchid collections out there and they do love to trot them out in late winter.

Orchid 2 2018

Aren’t they lovely? Such a heavenly combination of colors.

Orchid 5 2018

The garden’s founder Henry Shaw received his first orchids in 1876. Today the collection is nearly 6,500 strong with more than 2,000 species, nearly 1,500 cultivars and more than 686 unique taxa. Orchids come in all sorts of shapes, size and colors. The ones above look whimsical, like they have little fluttering wings.

Orchid 4 2018Orchid 10 2018

Dark, waxy looking leaves, bright green buds and pale freckled purple petals are worth a picture or two.

Orchid 11

Orchid 12 2018

With March around the corner, we’ve still got a few weeks of the mid-winter drearies left, but the good souls at the St. Louis Art Museum know us flower lovers want more. And they will deliver with their annual Art In Bloom event in early March.

Until then, I will bide my time, continue my walks through the lovely cities that make up St. Louis County and be on the look out for early signs of spring.