Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Houseplants!

I just got back from a trip to one-of-the-states-in-the-middle to visit The Husband's family for Christmas. I don't fit in with his family very well and the bed they put me in is a twin bed with a mattress that hasn't been replaced since sometime in the early 80s so I don't sleep well, either.

My mother in law has ONE houseplant. ONE.

BUT. About half an hour from my in-laws lies the land of PATSP, Kingdom of Mr. Subjunctive himself. He and I have been Internet Friends for years and on this trip I finally got to meet him for the first time IRL.

Fortunately he didn't turn out to be a very patient serial killer who lures unsuspecting plant aficionados to their dooms with offers of houseplants. [And neither did I]

I thought I was houseplant obsessed but I've got nothin' on Mr. S. Wow. I could tell we had the right house when I drove up and couldn't see inside for the wall of green. Very cool.

Mr. Subjunctive lives in a cute little house with his significant other and Sheba, a sweet dog who decided The Husband and I were great because whenever I feel fur under my hand I automatically start petting. 

He has has plants everywhere. Where there isn't enough natural light there are artificial lights to support the plants. I wonder about his power bill.

Best of all I have some new ideas for my place. I don't think I'll ever get as many plants as he has but I could use some more space for a few more plants [and so it begins...].

AND he very kindly sent me home with a few, small, plants. Meet the newest additions to my jungle [sorry for the poor quality of the images, the plants are all in my shower after getting a post-flight watering and the lighting isn't great]:

Aeschaynanthus longicolis

Bilbergia borracho [the only one with any noticeable damage from going through TSA screening and then being stuffed under an airline seat - two badly bent leaves. It should recover]

Bilbergia nutans

Columnia orientsomethinga [I con't really translate my handwriting and couldn't find this one on the interweb with a quick, pre-coffee search this morning. I'm sure I'll get a comment with the correct spelling soon, right, Mr. Subjunctive?]

Euphorbia leuconeura

Also known as the Madagascar jewel

Leuchtenbergia principis

Syngonium wendlandii

And, not from Mr. Subjunctive but found in a hardware store in The Husband's hometown, a nice variegated Hoya. They also had a variegated Peace Lily [Spathophyllum] that was just too big to try and carry on a plane. I'm not a big fan of most Spathophyllum but this would have been nice for the leaves. I do like the jumbo sized Spathophyllum but I just don't have room for one.

It was nice to meet an Internet Friend in person. Mr. Subjunctive is a genuinely nice guy with a nice dog, good taste in plants, movies, and music. As I was leaving I commented on how nice it was to meet someone like me, most people aren't like me and sometime that makes me feel like an outsider. He suggested it was in part because I am intelligent. I think that's part of it but it's also that I am willing to be myself, no matter what anyone else thinks. Thanks, Mr. Subjunctive, for the hospitality, for the plants, and for just being a nice guy.

Now to send The Husband to the hardware store to pick up some supplies...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Slow Down

It's time for the annual Winter Slow Down here on The Edge. With me back to school (for those who don't know I'm a lecturing professor in biology) and the garden soon to be covered with snow I don't have as much time or information to post. 

I even missed Garden Bloggers Bloom Day This month! So no pictures of my houseplants currently in bloom.

I will try to post periodically over the winter but don't expect frequent updates. You'll have to make do with a cat pictures to tide you over.

This is Mango. He's new here. We adopted Mango and a younger kitten, Wren, just before Thanksgiving. Mango had been living as a feral kitten at a Putt Putt Golf Course. The people there fed him (and his sister) all summer and then, when the weather started to turn, called a rescue group. Mango is a little shy but is rapidly warming up.

This is Wren. He and his family were found living in an abandoned house. He clearly didn't have a lot of human contact and is still very, very shy and skittish around us. He does love his "big brother" Mango, though, and is starting to recognize that if Mango likes attention and playing with people that maybe people aren't so bad. I think that with enough work he'll come around. He's only a few month old, after all.

Welcome to the family Boys.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Gardener's Nightmare

I came home from work on Friday to find this.

In case you can't tell what's going on there's water all over the sidewalk and street. It's not rain. It's not a burst hose. It's the water supply pipe running from the street to the house.

Right under my garden.

They're coming Monday to dig up the yard and repair the pipe.

They're coming Monday to dig up my garden.

It's November. Too late in the season to transplant anything. I'm going to try removing the plants I find most valuable and put them in pots in the garage to hopefully survive the winter. Fingers' and toes' crossed!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Foliage Follow Up November 2014

It's November Foliage Follow Up. I'm sure some of you have great fall foliage to show. Me? The trees up here are mostly bare already. Winter is coming and I'm not happy about it.

But I have all winter to grouse (and I probably will). Today is all about the show. Well, the show last Tuesday. The weather for Sunday is predicted to be nice but Saturday is iffy so I took these photos ahead of time and just scheduled this post for the 16th. It's cheating, I know. Deal with it.

First up a non-traditional look at my Cornus Garden Glow. The sky was awfully nice on Tuesday and I couldn't resist some artistic photos.

See the nearly bare trees?

Closer to the ground my Carolina Allspice (Calicanthus floridus) is still holding on to her leaves and has painted them for the season.

While I'm in the backyard my Viburnum cardinal candy is dripping with berries. I hope the birds will eat them at some point.

The birds will feast on my holly (Ilex Blue something) but only after the berries have been frozen. The robins and the cedar waxwings go bonkers over these in late winter. I can only hope they like the Viburnum then, too.

I don't have that problem with berries on my Elderberry Sambucus Black Lace. The berries barely last a few days before the birds eat them. 

The leaves on Black Lace are starting to fall, revealing some interesting bark. This is a plant I bought based on incorrect information at the local garden center but decided to plant anyway. I'm glad I did. I'm really enjoying it. Of course I wish it had more room and more sun so it bloomed better but I had to squeeze it in where I could find space. Damn these small Boston area lots! 

I'm not sure why but I love this shot of my gold threadleaf cypress. It looks almost like I could brush aside the dangling branches and break through to a secret garden. Or maybe I'm just overly tired.

When The Husband found a plant that had the common name Hoarny Goat Weed he teased me that we had to buy it. It's not safe to tease me. Now we have several varieties of Epimedium. They've proven to be a nice, low growing, shade tolerant plant.

It seems I have several low growing plants that are still green. This is lemon thyme, which is doing wonderfully around the stones under my garden hose reel.

And this is a low growing sedum, I think this one is Autumn Fire. It will color up with some red as the temperatures drop.

Last, but definitely not least, a purple leaf sage. This plant has performed very nicely in a pot all summer. I  hope it overwinters.

Thanks to Pam at Digging for this meme.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2014

After hair-pulling, teeth-grinding work to re-install all of my files and programs I have the computer back up and  (I think) running again. Just in time for Bloom Day!

I didn't think I'd have much in the way of outside blooms this month. Truth be told TODAY I don't have this many. I took these photos on Tuesday, before the latest storm. Blooms in November are scare and highly valued. At least on days it's nice enough to go outside. THOSE days are on the decline along with the flowers...

The pansies are reliable performers until they get buried by snowfall. I particularly like this cheerful, bright purple and dull, grey fall days.

And this one has a friend.

This is a surprising rebloom on one of my irises. It looks much better in the spring against a newly greening world.

What a brave little Gazania! It's been hit by frost and one light snowfall already. This is one that I bet isn't there today.

This unknown annual is basically done but it still has interesting structure. It's time to bring in the pots before they freeze and crack. But I'm not ready to accept that fact yet. I'm still clinging to fall.

This is Armeria Amada Rose. A relatively new addition that is actually blooming pretty strongly. 

This is winter Daphne but it's blooming now. I'm not sure which one this is. I planted three plants from two different places (and therefore two different varieties) and I thought they had all died. This one is probably in it's second year. Unfortunately I'm going to have to move it since I decided it was dead and planted another bush way too close. But that's something to worry about next year.

Gaura is a great plant that just keeps on blooming! I only have scattered blooms but in November, I'm thrilled to have even scattered blooms. Especially brightly colored ones.

The New Guinea Impatients did not survive the last storm, Expect for this one plant that has one last, desperate bloom before it succumbed to this week's cold and stormy weather. Farewell brave little Impatient, you were a good flower while you lasted.

These are the last two blooms on a Rudbeckia fromneighborii. It gives the bees something to eat on those rare, warm late fall days. One last meal before hibernation.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams for this meme.

Stay tuned for next month's HousePlants! [I will be shocked if I have any outdoor plants blooming in December. Shocked!]

Friday, November 7, 2014


Due to computer issues (ARGH) this blog is taking a hopefully brief hiatus while I re-load all of my files and software to the harddrive and re-configure everything the way I like it.

I hope to be back in time for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

To tide you over here's a picture of a cat.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Miscellaneous Saturday

Trees are like people. Most of them I'd rather not see naked.

This reblooming iris would be nice if the color of the blooms didn't match the color of fallen leaves quite so much.

The Baptisia seed pods rattle until they start to open and spread their seeds. They make for winter interest but also for LOTS of seedlings in the spring.

At least my hollies like lively and colorful. And they will until sometime in February when we get a thaw and the berries are exposed to the hungry Robins and Cedar Waxwings. I guess they're still cheerful when the bushes are full of birds.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I present to you... Asclepias tuberosa.

Monday, October 27, 2014


Whenever I go to the Big Box Warehouse store I wander through their display of houseplants. Ninety percent of the time they have the same old same old. Of course some of these same old same olds re old reliable and occasionally they are on sale because they need to be watered (seriously, a lot of the plants on their sale rack just need a good watering!).

And once in a blue moon there is something unusual and special. Like my Rhipsalis or my curly leafed spider plant.

This weekend I was looking and found a cute plant that was less than $5 (it's small). So I gave in to temptation and picked it up. I have a shelving unit in my office that is full of small plants there were less than $5. For some reason I think I can always squeeze in just one more...

Uh. Maybe not.

This trip The Husband was with me and he pointed to a bottom shelf and said "it's been a while since you bought an Anthurium."

Not any more.

He's started to enable my addiction. Is there a support group for Anthurium addicts? How about house plant addicts? Mr. Subjunctive, can we form a support group? Actually if we did that we're probably both end up with even MORE plants.

I did put a light in the basement this winter for plants. 

I think I'm in trouble.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Leaf Management

Saturday dawned sunny and warm (for this time of year) so we dedicated the afternoon to Leaf Management.

Earlier in the week we had a wicked nor'easter that brought over 3 inches of rain, lots of wind, flooded roads, downed trees and about half of the trees are now bare of leaves.

Our deck, driveway and lawn were all covered.

So The Husband pulled out the ladder and cleaned the first floor gutters and I swept the deck and driveway.

That's right. Swept. I'm sure my testosterone laden neighbor would have let me borrow his leaf blower but I prefer sweeping. It's less noisy, less polluting and I get a work out. Plus I can actually TALK to neighbors walking by or working in their yard rather than pissing them off. [side note to mom - a leaf blower makes sense for some situations, like your gravel driveway, but not so much for my paved driveway]

Afterwards we mowed the grass to compost the leaves in place.

The leaves I sweep up go in compost bins, the leaves in the beds get left there for winter insulation and free compost and the leaves on the lawn become free lawn food. Win-win-win.

[Yes, that's my dog's tail end in the last photo. During this time of year she blends with the leaves except when she's walking away from us.]