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Armchair Gardener #4: Winter Gardener Confessions

Listen to Ketzel talk about Armchair Gardening In this fourth and final piece in Ketzel's series, The Armchair Gardener, Morning Edition listeners confess to the extreme measures they've taken to get their favorite plants through winter.

One Way To Avoid The Treadmill
The basement of NPR listener and plant fiend, C.L.Forneri
They came with quilts and electric blankets, votive candles and low voltage lighting. They used blow dryers, thermometers, tar paper and blue tarps. They are postal workers, therapists, immigrants from Greece and Italy, they live in Indiana, Arizona and New York, and whether it was just one winter or every blessed November, each has fallen hopelessly in love with a plant.

Thank you, Morning Edition listeners, for your heartfelt letters and crazed missives about the fig and banana trees, dogwoods and magnolias, parsley, eggplant, tomatoes and arugula you have coddled through ice, wind and storms. Did you need to work so hard? Not always. Many of the plants you succored were hardier than you'd think. But what does it matter! You are gardeners, and you leave me humbled, feeling as if I've never sacrified for love.

Alas, this is the most I've ever done to get a favorite plant through winter (it was a variegated phormium, a.k.a., New Zealand flax): dug it up one evening when the temperature began to drop; threw it into a yellow recycling bucket; stuck it in the basement until the cold spell passed; and, days later, planted it back outside. Feh!

At the other end of the scale, here's one of my favorite listener letters written by Michael Bush, now of Tempe, Arizona.

more Read Michael's Letter

more Read some more letters from listeners.

Armchair Gardener Series:

Armchair Gardener 1#1: Let Them Read Books!
Morning Edition, January 4, 2002 The first part of a series for gardeners trying to weather the winter months without access to their favorite pastime. Ketzel stops by a Portland, Oregon, bookstore that's packed with gardening books... and brings several plant-lovers along.

Armchair Gardener 2Armchair Gardener #2: Charles Dudley Warner
Morning Edition, February 8, 2002
The series continues as Ketzel talks with writers Michael Pollan and Allan Gurganus about a little-known 19th century author who reinvented American garden writing.

Listen to Armchair Gardener #3Armchair Gardener #3: A Walk Through a Tasmanian Garden
Morning Edition, February 15, 2002
Ketzel takes us on a tour of a three-acre garden on the Australian island state of Tasmania. The catch is, she never leaves home.

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