Wildflower is published quarterly by the Wildflower Center. Its content is national in scope with articles about the conservation and use of native plants as well as news from the Wildflower Center. A subscription is provided to Wildflower Center members as a benefit of membership.
Letter from the Editor - Winter 2003Although popular in other circles, the phrase "dead of winter" does not seem quite right when it comes to gardening. Plants are not dead in winter, but rather experience dormancy that is caused by chemical changes within plant cells.
Cooling temperatures and shorter days in late summer and fall stimulate dormancy, and it is not until plants go through a period of cold for a number of days that they can break it. As temperatures rise, plants soften and resume growth.
So trees and shrubs are not at all dead in winter, but instead are still undergoing change. Winter dormancy just provides the needed rest that allows plants to come back fresh in springtime. For native plant gardeners, winter also brings rest from the planting and tending of summer and fall. But don't get too comfortable; your garden still needs care during the winter months.
This issue, we address two of the most important things you can do for your garden in winter. On page 11, "For Every Season" columnist Julie Bawden Davis tells us how to protect plants from cold weather conditions in winter. Winter also is an important time to prune, and in "Root of the Matter," (page 32) we show you how to do so properly to make your trees healthy and beautiful.
Winter is a good time to plan for changes you can make in your garden. And, since dormancy doesn't mean you have to have a drab garden, this issue Lisa Halvorsen tells us how to add color to winter gardens with berry-producing trees and shrubs ("The Berry Truth," page 12). This regional guide will help you select beautiful natives that will bring to your garden lovely berries that double as food for wildlife in winter.
The time away from working in your garden that winter allows also can be used proactively for other endeavors on behalf of native plants. Sheryl DeVore's article ("Extreme Takeovers," page 18) on what people nationwide are doing to help stop the spread of invasive plants may inspire you to take similar action. And Amy Lemen introduces us to Jens Jensen, who made native plants a household name and put the native prairie of the Midwest on the map at the start of the last century ("The Nature Poet," page 24).
After a fall season full of programs and events, the Wildflower Center is getting a bit of rest this winter as well. Things are quieter here as we anticipate another lovely and busy spring. We look forward to the holiday season and are grateful to be a part of yours with this edition of Native Plants. - Christina Kosta