Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stocking up for winter

The insanity continues. As if there wasn’t enough excess happening downstairs in the root cellar, where about 200 bulbs are chilling in their pots and vases, I’ve also been adding to the plant room upstairs.

While shopping for evergreen branches the other day, I noticed that the nursery had added—probably just to torment me—a table of citrus trees to their selection of gift plants. Right in there with all the amaryllis, zygocactus, rosemary, lavender, and cute little ferns growing out of little rocks or whatever.

These were sizable trees, too, many with fruit and buds all over them. I have always wanted to keep some citrus growing through the winter, moving it outside in summer, so how could I resist? I could not resist. I am now the owner of a dwarf Lisbon lemon. It is meant to be grown outdoors, of course, as the instructions make clear. Nothing there about keeping it going inside, but I know it’s possible; many grow citrus indoors.

I have purchased small plants from Logee’s before, but they didn’t make it, which was disappointing because they were pricey for their size. This lemon is established; at the very least, it will take longer to kill. At the most, I’ll be making cocktails with my own lemons from now on.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks for nothing, Mr. Collins

It’s like I’ve said all along. Politicians have an inbred aversion to such things as flowers, paintings, dancers, actors, plays, and literature. Oh, right, and library access.

See, when you run government like a rich businessman, you can’t really understand why other people would need any of the things you’ve taken for granted (though clearly ignored) for your entire life.

I wonder how many politicians rely on the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Many of you saw this magnificent facility last summer, during Garden Bloggers Buffa10. It needs work—and hopefully will continue to get it—but what it has right now is enough to entrance local families on a regular basis and impress out-of-town visitors whenever they get a chance to see it. It is one of three Lord & Burnham conservatories sited in an Olmsted park. It has the largest collection of ivy in the U.S. and it is the one place in Western New York where you can escape to the tropics in a twenty minute drive. In February.

That might impress some people, but clearly it is not enough for the leader of our county (the aforementioned Mr. Collins), who has withheld funding from the facility for the last year and plans the same treatment in 2011.

My friends from Idaho, North Carolina, and Wisconsin seemed to think the Botanical Gardens was a pretty cool place.

Look, we all know money is tight. But those of us who pay attention also know that the funds allocated to the Botanical Gardens and every other cultural organization in the area—AND the libraries—would not be enough to make a $2 dent in anyone’s property taxes. Seriously.

Fund the gardens. Fund the theaters. Fund the galleries. And for gods sake, fund the libraries. We can’t afford to have another generation growing up as ignorant as YOU, Mr. Collins, clearly are.

If any of my fellow admirers of the Botanical Gardens would like to advocate, I have an email for you:, and here's a phone number: 716-842-0490.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What happened to fall?

It fell. Usually I look forward to Thanksgiving weekend as a good time to at least pretend to rake some leaves before I give the job to a neighborhood wino, but this time next week, I don’t think there will be any leaves left.

Not that I’m complaining. The early chill and leaf fall, followed by milder temps, encouraged me to get all my bulbs in before it got too cold. The outside ones, that is. I still have 75 hyacinths and 30 or so tazettas to get into pots of some sort. There are about 100 in the root cellar now. Maybe more. I’ve lost track.

Slowly, all the furniture and décor has disappeared from the patio, while the fish have been adopted by someone with a deeper pond. It’s pretty bare out there, but with some attractive color, as you can see from these images. Which will have to suffice for GBBD. There is more, but the late fall hydrangeas are always my favorite.