Saturday, January 2, 2010

Misc. Saturday

Today we have over 6 inches of snow on the ground with more to come.  Winter is well and truly here.  I wish I were elsewhere.

I came up with several short topics to blog about today, none of which is really enough for a whole post (unless I really run on and on) and so I'm lumping them all into one post.  Starting the year off chaotically.  Typical.
Over the holidays The Husband had over a week off from work so we decided to tackle the basement.  Having always lived in warmer climates I've never had a basement before.  Our was dark, dingy and dusty.  Probably normal for a 60 year old house.  After a week of sweeping, dusting and organizing it's better, not great but better.  What does this have to do with gardening?  Here is my wall storage area where I'm able to hang all my plant support hoops and my hoses.  A nice, tangle free solution.

And here are my shelves.  Notice all the empty pots, there are more on the floor.  Most of the tools are wintering in the garage but I might bring them into the basement for cleaning and sharpening sometime this month ( I don't really need my shovel when there's so much snow on the ground.  Even I don't try and plant in this weather).

And my wonderful indoor potting bench.  Notice that the wall behind the bench is a sunny yellow.  My Brilliant Husband decided that painting the concrete walls would improve the atmosphere in the basement.  What a great idea!  

Now that I have a (relatively) clean and more cheerful basement I'll have to do some of those winter gardening chores like organizing my seeds and planning a planting schedule, taking care of the tools, putting a new coat of poly on our outdoor furniture.  You know, the less fun side of gardening.

My first Amaryllis is pretty much done blooming.  Now I have to decide what to do with the spent bulbs.  Do I keep them alive and try and get them to bloom again next winter or just compost them and buy new?  I think I'll keep the Amaryllis bulbs but compost the rest.  The Narcissus tazetta was a bit overpowering with fragrance and tulips just don't rebloom well (in fact I'm still waiting for my forced tulips).  I still haven't decided about the hyacinths.

We went to the big home improvement warehouse to buy shelving, paint and rubber floor tiles for the basement.  I needed a pot, one pot, for a houseplant.  What I found were the post bloom orchids on sale.  I bought this Phalenopsis, with the tattered remnants of two pale blooms for $3.

I also bought three Dendrobium, no idea what color blooms, for $1 each.  I think it's worth trying to get them to rebloom.  I was careful to pick plants that looked healthy, with green leaves, good turgor pressure (the leaves were firm) and no visible pests.  We'll see how they do.  I only spent $6 on four orchids!  Well, and I've ordered orchid pots and a special potting mix for the Dendrobium and...  Even so it's a deal.  Really.

The Big Box stores typically do not take good care of their plants but it's worth checking them out.  If you know what you're doing and shop shortly after the plants come in you can get a great deal.  Or if you have a green thumb and are willing to put the time and effort into bringing back plants past their peak.  If you are a new gardener stay away from them.  I've found perennials that are not hardy for my zone, mislabeled plants, invasive plants and even plants that are banned in the state (with good reasons) for sale.  Beginners are better off at Local Garden Centers with knowledgeable staff.  Between the poor choices at Big Box retailers and the bad designs and advice on HGTV it's no wonder many beginning gardeners give up.  Oops.  Hadn't planned on getting on the soap box.  I'll get off now.


The Husband and I spent both Christmas Day and New Years Day volunteering at the Aquarium.  (I got to pet one of the Anacondas.)  Afterwards we came home and watched the Mythbusters marathon.  They demonstrated the "trick" to tearing a phone book in half.  We only had two phone books in the house so we took the smaller one.  The Husband tried and failed.  I succeeded.  This has nothing to do with gardening but I TORE A PHONE BOOK IN HALF WITH MY BARE HANDS.  Seriously.  How cool.  

Happy 2010.  Here's hoping for a good gardening year!

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