Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Not More Snow!

Over the weekend we had some seasonal temperatures and some snow melt. Yipee! But now they're predicting more snow. Boo!

At least someone in the house will be happy.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

What is it?

Yesterday we had to run an errand to pick up stuff for the unending bathroom remodel and ended up near a garden center that I normally go to only a couple of times a year. I found out a few weeks ago that they're having a winter "farmer's market" in their greenhouses so I was able to convince The Husband to go. He bought some winter veggies (and some tomatoes grown in a green house! in February! in New England!). I bought some house plants.

Here's the one I want to talk about. It was for sale with a bunch of so-called "terrarium plants." I say so called because you need a very large terrarium to hold a rubber tree or a ficus. They clearly choose their terrarium plants based on how easy they are to propagate, not how fast they grow or how large they get.

The new plant is labeled "Ittie Bittie Succulent." Not much help. Turns out "Ittie Bittie" is the brand name and not a clue to the identity of this plant.

Let me give you an idea of scale. Here's the plant with a hippo.

OK. Maybe a hippo isn't the best idea for scale. Here's the plant with three hippos and a pencil.

Any ideas about what it might be? And what conditions it might need? And how big it will get?

I always appreciate good labeling by garden centers. Yes, that was kind of heavy on the sarcasm. For some background on my experiences with garden center labeling check out this post.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Angry Hummingbird

It happened last Thursday. Another day filled with snow and cancelled work, stuck in the house because the roads were a mess.

I became the Angry Hummingbird.

Have you ever noticed how almost every picture of a hummingbird looks angry? No? It's just when I try to photograph them?


Well that's what I feel like. I'm angry but no matter how I buzz and fly nothing I do will affect anything of significant size. Like, say, the 16 inches of snow on the ground. Ugh.

So what's a gardener to do? Plan a garden? Done. Order plants for spring planting? Done. Count the days till spring? Too disappointing.

I've done the math and all I need is 2.5 million dollars and I can move to Sanibel Island, Florida, buy a small house and live a moderate, middle class lifestyle without having to work. I can buy all new furniture in tropical colors like Aqua, Sunshine, Lime and Roseate Spoonbill. 

I can let my hair grow out so that all I do in pull it up in a ponytail when I get up before the crack of dawn to head down to Ding Darling Nature Preserve (one of my favorite places on the planet) before dawn, to see the White Pelicans

and the Yellow Crown Night Herons.

I will put all of my house plants in plastic pots so they can live outside most of the time but not be too heavy to carry in on those rare nights that get below 60. I will collect discarded fishing line to tie orchids to the branches of my Jacaranda tree. I will own one pair of long pants and one pair of closed toe shoes and I will wear them only when traveling. I will order lots of butterfly and hummingbird attracting plants, but nothing invasive! 

All I need is 2.5 million dollars.

Anyone got that to spare?



Friday, February 14, 2014

Plant Porn Friday

You know you want to look!

The Anthurium at the top is more of a purple (see the flower behind the pollen donor) while the one at the bottom is almost exactly the color in the photo. What color is it? Well, I'm calling it SEXY.

Damn you, Mr. Subjunctive! You've got me started trying to breed my own Anthuriums. I'm leaving it to you to tell The Husband (mine, not yours) that I need some plant lights installed in the basement.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Where's the Hot Tub?

I have a heated bird bath on my back porch. On cold winter days the Mourning Doves sit on the edge of it, warming their toes.

I neglected to fill it during one of the recent Polar Vortex events but that didn't stop this dove. He got to warm up his whole body by laying on the bottom of the dry birdbath. Ahhhh.

Fighting the Ice Dams

For those of you in warmer climates this is the sort of stuff we have to deal with in New England.

Yes, that icicle does go from the roof of the bump out to the roof below!

Even worse - if we don't manage the snow on the roof properly it can melt, form a pile of ice at the gutters and then the next day's melt will pile up behind the ice (an ice dam) and leak into the house.

We have a real problem with ice dams right here. It makes it hard to have a nice looking ceiling in the kitchen.

They're predicting 5 - 10 more inches of snow tomorrow.

Anyone got a garden for sale in Florida?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Miniature Disaster

Most years I buy Amaryllis bulbs in the fall. I love to have their brightly colored flowers around in mid-winter, when the garden and the sky are grey.

Most years I have problems with the plants tipping over their pots.

So I bought clay pots specifically for Amaryllis bulbs, and I jerry-rigged a support for the flowers.

But this year I bought bigger bulbs and...


Fortunately when I put the buds into a vase they opened up anyway.

Ahhhh. Bright color in the dark of winter.

When is spring?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

#First World (Plant) Problems

I've been spoiled. I have access to water on every floor in my house. 

Well, I HAD access to water on every floor in  my house. Then came the leak. A pipe that ran under the floor of my second floor bathroom began to leak. When we opened up the ceiling to find the problem we discovered that whoever put in the second floor bathroom originally also cut completely through a couple of joists. If we had a bathtub up there it would have ended up on the first floor.

In order to fix said leak and joists the floor and tiled walls of the second floor bathroom needed to be opened up. I HAD wanted to remodel it in a couple of years... Just not THIS year.

So we've got construction guys traipsing through the house and (temporarily) no bathroom on the second floor.

What does this have to do with plants? It means I have to make multiple trips up the stairs, hauling water, to water my second floor plants.

Like this 3 foot Ficus.

And this very large Clivia.

And Lemon-Lime, here.

Plus I have to bring hanging baskets downstairs to water them (I always set them in a sink or bathtub to let the water run through).

So my second floor plants aren't getting watered on quite the correct schedule AND, despite the efforts of the construction guys, they're getting COVERED with construction dust. They're practically begging me to haul ALL of them into the shower.

As soon as we have a second floor shower, that is.

Life is soooo hard for a houseplant in the First World.