Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A pregnant pause

This is likely the longest I’ve gone between posts for some time. As the saying goes, life gets in the way.

But flowers continue and so does Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. I’ve had an abundance of flowers for the last month, considering it’s been the dead of winter. A lot of them have appeared here, but here are some that haven’t yet. And there are many to come—my amaryllis this year are being especially slow and four have bloom stalks just beginning to come up. One of them I’ve had for at least nine years; it is the very sturdy and persistent red variety. Because it does not have any dormancy period (I distrust dormancy periods) it usually blooms in mid-March. I also have more tazettas coming up.

Now is the time when I regret not having forced even more bulbs than I did. And why didn’t I do tulips this year? What will I do in March? I guess you’ll all have to look at those red amaryllis. Or maybe I’ll just cheat and go to the Botanical Gardens spring bulb show. Or force some cherry tree branches. Or all three. It’s very traumatic. But it's also been great to have lots of flowers in the house. In a couple months, they'll be outside as well.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Not too many to count

Much of December through mid-March is spent wrangling bulbs and flowering houseplants: that is their big season. This is the first time I’ve attempted a count— I'm doing it because a count has been requested by Mr. McGregor’s Daughter. She has more than she thought, and wants to know if that's true for a lot of gardeners who don't think they have many houseplants.

I won’t leave anyone in suspense—I have 70, which really isn’t all that many. And quite a number of them are temporary. Indoor plants have come into my possession three different ways.

First there are the traditional houseplants, which are tropicals or warm zone perennials such as ficus, sanseviera, orchids, and so on. I have 28 of those, including a nice bonsai, a few zygocactus, a cyclamen, a couple of big foliage numbers, and others of various interest.

Then there are plants that I am really just keeping alive inside until I can bring them outside for the summer, where some of them will produce fragrant flowers. These include 3 gardenia, 2 jasmine, a big musa, a papyrus, and quite a few others. There are 20 of these.

Then there are bulbs, including tazettas, hyacinth, and hippeastrum. I count these by the pot, regardless of how many bulbs are in each pot. The tazettas and hyacinth will be composted after bloom, and the hippeastrums will be kept as houseplants in the hopes of rebloom. Many of them will move outside for the summer. I have 22 of these.

I actually photographed each plant, just for fun, but I’ll spare you all but a few of them. It was a good opportunity to make sure they were all alive.