Friday, December 31, 2010


It's winter.  Time for focusing on indoor plants.  There are certain plants that you just don't buy.  

Anthurum, because they are inevitably over-priced (OK, I bought one recently because it was so much lower priced than I've seen them before).  

Spider Plants because everyone has one and they reproduce so readily (OK, so I bought an unusual variant called Curly Sue whose leaves, well, curl).

Night blooming Cereus because there is a rule that these need to be passalong plants and I've never met anyone who had one.  Maybe I'll break down and buy myself one from Logee's this winter.  

And Clivia.  These are another plant that I've wanted but always found to be too pricey - $20-30 is fine for a shrub but not a houseplant.  I'd rather buy a half dozen small houseplants in the $3-4 range and let them grow.

But this year for Christmas!  The Husband's Aunt (henceforth known as Special K) has grown Clivia for years.  Her original plant has multiplied and she now has nearly a dozen of them.  This year she gifted me with one.


The Best Christmas Present EVER!

[No, no I'm not prone to hyperbole, why do you ask?]

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010

We survived (so far) The Blizzard of 2010!  

Of course I don't think we're going anywhere anytime soon.  Certainly not to the Local Garden Center to see what on After Christmas Sale.

This is why I leave my garden un-"tidied" until Spring (well, it's reason number 3, right after good for the birds, good for insects and just before I'm lazy).  Winter Interest.  Something has to break the monotony of the snow.

Like Liatris.

And Panicum virgatum.

Although usually I enjoy the evergreen leaves and flower buds that last all winter on the Pieris today they are covered in snow.

Piper is enjoying the snow.  It's really hard to get a good photo of a dark colored dog running around in the snow.

The Husband kindly held the yard stick for me so I can show ya'll how deep the snow is - nearly 16 inches!

And that doesn't include places where it's blowing into drifts.  Or weird wave like sculptures.

The wind has also sculpted 3-D forms on the side of the house and the mailbox.  Wicked cool.

The good thing about New England is that even with all this snow we should be able to get out of the house this afternoon (or tomorrow at the latest) so we won't get bad cabin fever.  I'm not sure about The Queen Bee and her Entourage, they had to cancel their trip up here because the snow started down there and they got at least five inches.  She's posting picture on her blog.  I will for depth of snow.  She wins for level of inconvenience.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas

Happy Holidays.

Jewel Orchid, Haemaria discolor, blooming just in time for a White Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Plants In the Hospital Ward

Now don't panic, MOM, I'm not talking about a people hospital.  I'm talking about sick plants.  We're trying to cut down on Emergency Room visits here on The Edge. 

I don't usually have many plants in the sick ward.  I'm not one to mollycoddle a plant.  They either like the conditions I give them or they get composted.  Even these plants aren't being mollycoddled (what?  So it's a $5 word, I like it.  Don't know what it means?  That's what Google is for.) - they're just in the bathroom for a good watering and a photo session.

Right now I have one plant that might need to see a doctor.  It's a fern.  It's a nice fern.  It got repotted this year and has already grown to fill the new pot.  See the cute little leaf?

The growth habit is similar to that of the rabbit's foot ferns except the "feet" aren't as furry.

But.  I think it has a virus.  See the spots?

How about these spots?  

There are usually a few leaves with spots.  They start out small, get more pronounced and then the leaf dies.  The plant itself is lush and full so I'm not too worried about it.  I prescribe:  Lots of rest, plenty of water and a nice, west facing window.

I wonder if it would benefit from some fertilizer...  I don't fertilize my houseplants very often but I have been known to use dirty fish tank water as a source of hydration.  [But not lately.  I devised a new system to clean the fish tanks that uses a pump rather than the old bucket method.  Maybe I should pump the water into the tub and use that water for the houseplants...  Then again maybe The Husband would kill me if I did that.  Or at least make ME clean the bathroom.  The Horror!]

The other patient in the Hospital Ward is a type of aloe (I think).  This one has fantastic color and great form but the arms are stiff and a bit delicate. We just had an amputation by curtain. 

******WARNING******Graphic picture to follow******WARNING******

Not shown:  a Ficus benjammani var unknown that I bought at a Big Box store, brought home and it promptly dropped half its leaves.  I know these plants are known for that so I'm hopeful it'll improve with some TLC.  The pictures were just too unsettling.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The most stressful time of the year

*It's the most stressful time of the year* come on, sing along, you know the tune!

Twas the week before Christmas and all thru The Edge, the Gardener was frantic trying to wrap things up. 

The Final Exam needed to be written.  A review session needed to be prepared.  Grades need to be calculated.  Oh, the joys of teaching college students.

And then there's Christmas itself.  Gifts to buy.  What to get The Zack, my Favorite Nephew?  And The Dad - always a challenge.  And I'll need to clean the house before The Queen Bee and Her Entourage arrive.  Eeep!

Need to bring the stress level down.  Time to visit Kane's.  No, not Candy Canes.  Kane's, an LGC that has a heated greenhouse where they sell houseplants all winter.  

Ahhhh.  Heat, humidity and lush plants.

True, they have a lot of Poinsettias this time of year (painted blue with sparkles, really?  Why not get a fake plant, it'll last longer).  But at this time of year I want to pick up a couple of Cyclamen.

I find Cyclamen have a long bloom time and they have pretty foliage so they'll last me all winter.

It's a good investment for me since I crave bright colors during the dull, gray, New England winters.

I'll pick up two of them.

Um.  I might have gone overboard a bit.

But the big excitement at Kane's was this Anthurium andreanum (a 4.8 on the PATSP scale of difficulty).  I often see them for sale but they are always expensive.  This one was $10 for an 8 inch pot.  For that price - MINE!

So I bought a few plants and reduced my stress level quite a bit.  Kane's in my favorite place to shop this time of the year.  Even if I don't buy anything.

Now I can go back to panicking about the end of the semester and the holiday season and...

PS.  Thanks to The Queen Bee for picking me up some volumetric flasks for cut flowers.  Don't they look cool?  Well, if you're a science geek they do!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reindeer Games

The Reindeer down the road have been playing games this week.  They've been running a race.

It takes a while for sawhorse reindeer to race across the lawn.

Looks like we have a winner!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Ritual of Window Screens

This weekend was time for another ritual to mark the change from outdoor gardening season to indoor gardening season.  The Ritual of Window Screens.  We removed the screens from our first floor windows to increase the amount of light coming in and hitting the houseplants.

Funny.  I never did this when I lived in warmer climates.  This is the first place I have lived where I will go for months without opening the windows.  Brrr!

Soon I will get back to posting pictures of plants.  I promise.  I'm almost over the vertigo that makes computer use so miserable.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday Reindeer

Rudolph has arrived!

These guys have been busy.  Since the last time I went to take pictures the reindeer have been in two poses that I wasn't able to get over and take pictures of!  I need to give them a call about that...

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Ritual of Rosemary

Today I began the annual Ritual of Rosemary.  The timing can be tricky since it's based completely on the weather but the weather here is turning really cold and we're supposed to have a couple of days this week where we don't get above freezing so it's time.

The first part of the Ritual of Rosemary involves bringing my two pots of Rosemary in from outside.  The larger pot will spend the winter in the shelter of the garage.  Rosemary isn't hardy here but the garage provides enough protection that it will stay alive and dormant (provided I don't overwater!).

The smaller pot will spend several days in the garage, then it will get moved into the cool breezeway and finally, in the last part of the Ritual of Rosemary it will get placed on a stand in front of one of the windows in the kitchen.  There it will join with a pot of chives and possibly some oregano for a winter supply of fresh herbs for cooking. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Reindeer Photo

There is an architectural firm up the street that does a holiday display of reindeer, well, ok, they're Sawhorse Reindeer (Saw Reindeer?).  Each week the reindeer change poses. 

There are lights in the pots so that at night the reindeer are spotlit.  

This is week one.