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The Bruce Company Blog

the basics of seed starting

It’s been a quiet winter season here in Lake Wobegon. Oh wait! We’re in Dane county, but the sentiment still applies. After a particularly mild start we finally have snow. Which we love, by the way. There hasn’t been anything that can remotely be called a Polar...

to prune or not to prune

The frantic pace of the holidays has a way of giving in to the quiet contemplation of mid-winter, making it a great time to settle in and nurture some spring projects. The recent snowy weather certainly encourages introspection. Preferably indoors, under a pile of...

a few of our favorite traditions

Every family has their particular holiday traditions that are practiced, and enjoyed, year after year. We bundle up and head get to the same place to get the tree. We bake cookies from the same family recipes. We watch the same holiday special on television. My family...

let it snow! let it snow!

Baby, it’s been cold outside, so winter is definitely here, just ignore the last couple of days. Outside, seeds and buds are settling in for their seasonal nap. The earth is still. Inside our homes, we’re warm and happy in rooms sparkling with bright lights, views of...

holidays in bloom

Gardening in late November? Are we crazy? Most everyone we know is consumed with holiday decorating, shopping for gifts and trying to plan for one more year of a reconfigured Thanksgiving dinner traditions. But you can still squeeze in a little winter gardening and...

o christmas tree! o christmas tree!

Close on the heels of our Thanksgiving celebrations, comes one of the most harrowing of all the winter holiday experiences - the Selection of the Christmas Tree. Luckily, we live smack in the middle of tree central.  Of the 13,000 or so Christmas tree farms in the...

let temperatures guide your pond chores

Despite the upcoming warm weather, the night temperatures are cooling and coloring leaves will be falling soon from most of our trees. Colder weather is certainly on its way. It’s time to get your ponds and water features ready for the frosty temperatures to come. If...

get ready for old man winter

Wow. It’s November and we’re seeing forecasted temps in the upper 50s. Lilacs are blooming. So are Iris! The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a chilly and snowy winter for the lower Great Lakes region. I’m excited to see what the next couple weeks will bring. If you...

and in this corner? LED vs incandescent

There’s no snow forecasted in our immediate future. Heck, our fall color isn’t even close to peaking. But these beautiful late fall days are perfect for getting a jump on outdoor holiday decorating. Why not start with hanging your Christmas lights? There’s no rule...

the slow slide from fall to winter

At long last. It’s time to take a deep breath because the physical work, and often frenetic pace of the growing season looks to be winding down. Not having a million things to accomplish in the garden may find some folks feeling a bit bereft, but others are pretty...
time to put your veg garden to bed

time to put your veg garden to bed

written by Lisa Briggs
Fall is the time of year for two of my favorite garden activities-harvest and reflection. Without harvest, you can’t reap the rewards of a summer well spent. And without reflection, I can’t learn from my mistakes, as well as the successes.

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forcing bulbs-a trick and a treat!

forcing bulbs-a trick and a treat!

written by Lisa Briggs
I love pots of showy amaryllis during the holidays. Though fragrant paperwhites are not my favorite, they are very easy to force in vases. And with a little prep time, you can have pots of tulips and daffodils blooming in your kitchen in late February.

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what makes a bulb a bulb?

what makes a bulb a bulb?

written by Lisa Briggs
We call them all bulbs, but bulbs, rhizomes, corms and tubers are essentially storage organs that contain flower buds. The structure feeds the developing flower as it grows to maturity and blooms.

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time to get houseplants indoors

time to get houseplants indoors

written by Lisa Briggs
We’ve got a couple of chilly nights under our belts, with the night temps as low as 45 degrees. So it’s time to get your houseplants that have spent the summer months outdoors ready for their move back inside.

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the colors of autumn

the colors of autumn

written by Lisa Briggs
When summer is dishing out heat and humidity, and winter brings us face to face with another polar vortex, we remember rich palette of autumn. Fall color typically peaks mid-October in southern Wisconsin, but many of us are too busy to do much traveling.

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bring the outdoors in

bring the outdoors in

written by Lisa Briggs
What a difference a season makes! Now that we’ve turned the calendar page from August to September, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Cooler temps. Lower humidity. And so many other reasons to love fall! But a gardener’s work is never done. There is so much to do. Let’s start by acknowledging that cold weather is coming.

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bundle up buttercup!

bundle up buttercup!

written by Lisa Briggs
The average first frost in the Madison area occurs in the first week of October, but we did experience a 31 degree night on October 2nd last fall. The first hard freeze didn’t occur until the 19th when the mercury dipped to a chilly 27. So it isn’t a bad idea to formulate your plan for moving houseplants and other tropical plants that have spent the summer outside, indoors for the winter.

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somewhere over the iris rainbow

somewhere over the iris rainbow

written by Lisa Briggs
The Iris is named after the Greek goddess of the Rainbow. The three upright standards and three drooping sepals are symbols for faith, valor and wisdom. It seems appropriate that the Keeper of the Rainbow is the symbol for iris because they are available in every color of the rainbow.

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