I spend a lot of time showing you my garden and yard. Then comes the winter and it all gets shut down and put away. (Okay, I notice in these pictures I’ve not finished putting things away from the front porch.) It requires a lot of effort on my part to dump pots, and protect vines and move things about so that I can call in the professional yard service to do the “fall cleanup”. They always do more than I expect/want, in that they pull out all of my fencing. It annoys me but I’m also grateful that they do, because it WILL be easier to plant in the spring. After, that is, I go through the effort of putting back the metal fences that *I* consider to be permanent. The yard DOES look better without fences around barren lots.
Last winter was so warm that easily half of my planters came back to life when I moved them out to the front walk. I thought about buying a very small greenhouse to encourage that to happen again this winter. It turns out that there is more to a greenhouse than simply glass walls and roof. Until I figure out what I’d want to do for a heat source I’m going to pile up the planters on the front porch as I’ve always done. I’ve also decided against digging up my canna lilies this year. It was an interesting experiment last year, and it did work, but it also had some minor inconveniences. I find that this year I’m not as gung-ho to dig them up and prepare them to live in my basement coal bin. They’ll winter over in the ground or they (most likely) won’t.
I don’t know why the succulents seem to flower more once I bring them inside. You’d think that being outside with true sunlight all day would be more nourishing than 10 hours under a grow light. They’ve only been inside for a few weeks, and already several of them are putting up flowers. The palm trees always start out as if they will do okay, and then by spring they are in terrible condition and I end up buying new ones anyway. 🙂 This year I’m using 2 grow lights on them, and the lamps are positioned closer than in prior years. They may still fail because BC has decided that they are perfect for chewing. Now a greenhouse (with heat) would be the perfect place to store the palms!
I’ve been concerned about the palm tree I brought inside a few weeks ago. It does not look healthy. I’m not sure if it is getting too much light (from the grow lamp) or not enough light, not enough water, too much water, too cold near the window. It doesn’t look healthy and I’m not really sure what to do about it.
My first guess is not enough water because I water the plants inside maybe once a week, if that. The succulents seem fine with that schedule but maybe the palm needs more. They all got MUCH more water outside over the summer. I decided to take the pot and water it thoroughly and see if that was the issue. To do that I had to move the pot from where it is and put it into the sink or outside, because otherwise I’d flood the room. I managed to get it across the room and up and into the sink. Once there I watered it until the water ran out the bottom. It is sitting there now, draining.
I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get it OUT of the sink. 😦 Getting it up and over the counter and down into the sink was not simple – the pot weighs so much. I’m looking at it sitting there, and trying to figure out how I’m going to hoist it UP and back over the counter. It’s not looking promising.
As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, I love my garden. I love flowers, I love growing herbs for cooking, I love the smell of greenery. I know that I have many bulbs I could dig up and winter-over, but it’s all too much effort at this point. At the same time I’m very happy come the fall and I can stop taking care of all of the plants. 🙂 Maybe some day (that oft-referenced, never-actioned retirement) I’ll be the kind of person to dig up bulbs and store them in the basement. That day is not today. I do, however, attempt to winter over the succulents. They are interesting and comparatively tidy. Even more relevant, however, is the fact that the cats appear to be uninterested in them. This year I also brought in one of the palm trees from the front porch. I’m not sure which species it is exactly, but I checked all of the ones that look like what I have and they were all okay for cats. I bought it at Home Depot so if anyone can put a better identification on it, that would be helpful.
When I had the kitchen updated a bit approximately 12 years ago, I added grow lights to the bay window. I had visions of starting plants from seeds, and growing herbs in the winter. I did some of that but not very much. Instead I’ve been using that area to winter-over the succulents. I started with succulents a few years ago after seeing the beautiful arrangements my sister made. I had one pot, and it was small enough that I could bring it in and out. Last year I expanded to another pot, a big one that was on a roller out front. It weighs a ton. My husband brought it in for me and we had it on the floor by the door to the deck. This year that location is no longer available so we had to lift it up to the window seat in the breakfast room bay window. Oh my, that thing is HEAVY. Two of the three palms had already died by the time we were moving the plants inside, but one of them still appeared to be salvageable. I pruned off all of the obviously brown and broken fronds and we brought that in as well.
The major problem with bringing the plants inside is the water. First I need to remember to water them. Second I need to remember not to over-water them and flood the shelf underneath. The pot in the kitchen is easy – not too big, not too heavy. The other 2 pots are extremely heavy and I thought they might crack anything that wasn’t metal or soft plastic. They are sitting on platters that function but are not aesthetically pleasing. My new kitchen and breakfast room are definitely about aesthetically pleasing. I’m on the hunt for some platter that is attractive, of the correct depth, and waterproof. And THAT’S why there is no picture of the base of the pots! I also moved a grow light into the breakfast room – you can see the pinkish light in the photo. I’m not sure that will be sufficient light for the succulents, but I hope it works. My memory tells me that the palm does NOT need direct sunlight (it was on the porch, after all), so I am hoping that it will have sufficient light from the window and what it gets from the grow light.
Many of my herbs winter-over with no assistance from me. The mint has been coming back for a few years as do the chives. Last year the thyme also managed to save a bit of itself. I take all of the big pots, take the flowers out and put them in the compost (or in the leaf bags) and put the now plant-less pots on the porch. Then I take whichever herbs have survived the frost and cold and place those pots as the second row. They line the railing so they can get whatever sun and rain comes their way. The chives seem to manage on this benign neglect so I put them in the corner where I hope they will get the most sun and rain. We’ll see how the others do. The pot with the rosemary and bay leaves is way too heavy to move. I’ve considered digging up those 2 plants and bringing them inside simply for the lovely smell. Maybe if I get super ambitious this weekend I’ll do that. But if past performance is any indicator of future earnings – probably not that likely. 🙂
And now for the obligatory cat photo. GC was all curled up on the couch. She meowed a few times but obliged me by staying in that spot. She’s such a sweet girl.
It’s really hot out there today. “Real feels” between 105-110. That means that I need to be running the a/c, and I am staying inside. I always feel so imprisoned with the windows closed. Even though I am in my (beach-y) sun room, looking out at plants, including potted palms, I feel locked-up. To combat my cabin-fever I went out at lunch to visit the plants. It was a short visit, because while they seem to be doing fine, I could feel the heat burning through my clothes. It’s REALLY hot.
The dahlias seem to be thriving on our burning-hot now pouring-rain now burning-hot weather. Also the mandevilla and the succulents. According to the internet several of the succulents are supposed to flower, but only the Tiny Tangerine Bulbine Frutescens seems to have gotten the notice. I had no idea that the Rick-Rack Orchid cactus could grow to be a hanging plant. I wonder if it feels cramped in my pot between the ever-encroaching sedum and the octopus aloe? I may try to take a cutting and plant it somewhere else. There will be a lot of light in the breakfast room now. And a huge, high beam that could hold hanging planters. I think in the past I may have had lampranthus deltoides and had them flower, but I could be remembering some other succulent with little pink flowers.
Last year I brought in that huge red planter with the succulents. The pot weighs a ton, and only 1 of the plants survived the winter and the cats (the sedum, of course). I wasn’t planning to bring the pot in again this year because of the weight, the cats and changed floor plan. I may have to rethink that or I may need to transplant all of the succulents into smaller pots and bring them in. I really like this batch. I would love to see the octopus aloe flower. Of course the question is always – are these poisonous/fatal if ingested by cats? Trying to protect plants from BC is not a simple task.
I was thinking of bringing one or more of the potted palms inside for the winter. I have 3 of them, and I’d like to try to have at least one winter over. I’d need to find a place with a lot of light (the breakfast room) and minimal cat access. Not many places like that in my house. I did a search just now and it appears that the palms are safe for the cats, so I guess if I don’t mind dirt hitting the floor, or some chewed up leaves (and residual cat ‘deposits’), this may be a plan. 🙂 I’d need to figure out a good water-containing base, however, as I have a tendency to over-water.