Monday, December 12, 2005

Holiday plants and all that

Did I mention how much I hate poinsettias in my last post? (Yes, now shut up about it.) I know, but the other thing about them is all the foil wrapping. The plant is not that assertive, so invariably you end up noticing the tacky wrapping more than any of the growing parts. They are also very difficult if not impossible to maintain as a houseplant; you have to do weird things in the basement. Hardly worth it, one would think.

Now, on the other hand, there are plants normally associated with the holidays that are well worth the room they take up in one of your two south-facing windows. My friend Cheryl and I have kept our oldest Christmas cacti plants going since the eighties. I must say hers is by far the most impressive; I guess mine never gained back its momentum after early smoke damage. In any case these blooming machines require hardly any care and bugs don’t seem to like them. They look good in and out of bloom, but the flowers are impressive—indeed, rather orchid-like, in various shades of hot pink and red.

I love all four of my hippeastrums (amaryllis to many of you), though since I let them thrive as houseplants and don’t put them down for dormant periods, they tend to bloom rather late. Still.

On the paperwhite front, things are a bit shaky. The explosive leaf growth has not been matched by equal bud development—not enough sun, probably. We’ll see.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Posting will be light, but it will continue!

Yeah, it’s 20 something degrees out, the ground is a little bit white (barely covering the disgusting soggy leaves we never raked) and I haven’t touched spade to ground since late September. But that’s not really why I haven’t updated this blog for over a month. It’s mainly the mounting weight of procrastination, which, as all you procrastinators out there know, becomes heavier and more difficult to overcome with each passing day.

Ok, gardening. Hmmm. Actually, this is a big season for plants. It's the only time of year I really appreciate evergreens; during the summer, they’re just a tall/short/round/pointy green backdrop that you see around. Now, though, I find myself examining and appreciating the different types of needles, leaves, and colors: bright green, gray green, brownish green, yellow green. I enjoy sorting through them and disposing them around the house. God knows they last longer than most cut flowers. And I love holly. Holly rocks. Wish I could grow some, but I content myself with buying cut holly and maybe little holly plants that I can easily kill within a few weeks or so. In the meantime, the little sharp bicolored leaves and berries are fantastic.

But poinsettias. There were about four loaded displays of these at Wegman’s today, and each one was uglier than the next. Why do people like these? Why did a whole huge show of them at the Botanical Gardens open today? They all look the same; OK, some are red, some are white, some are green, who cares.

Back to good stuff: in a few weeks, I will be able to bring out my hyacinth pots and vases, so they can bloom. More on that later.

This isn’t holly, but it’s an nice tree with berries we saw on a walk a while back.