I love wild birds. And I love cats. I also adore little furry creatures (except when they’re pillaging my garden or raiding my bird feeders). How can an animal lover keep both the birds and the cats happy?
I’ve been down with a nasty stomach virus for the past week, more interested in the distance to the bathroom than in gardening. As a result, I’ve been perusing articles instead of writing them (it takes far less effort!). I’ve also spent considerable time reading bogus gardening advice on Pintrest—it’s an amazingly rich repository of horticultural mythology. One afternoon I focused on the idea that houseplants purify the air in our homes. We’ve all seen the articles…
- INFOGRAPHIC: Best Houseplants for Indoor Air Quality
- 10 Best Houseplants That Clean The Air
- How To Purify The Air In Your Home With These Plants (According To NASA)
Flowers make me happy. I love gardens full of them. But while I do appreciate pretty bouquets, I prefer to receive flowers that are still attached to their plant. As my husband has learned—to bring a smile to my face, bring me flowers with roots!
For an avid gardener, January can be a difficult time of year. Sure, we can dream. The seed catalogs that have been arriving for a month now are filled with post-it notes, dog-eared corners, and bright yellow highlights. At the same time, I’ve decided and re-decided (at least a dozen times) where I’m going to plant each seedling once the weather warms. I love the optimism of dreaming, but sometimes I just want to get my fingers into some soil—even if the “soil” came out of a bag of potting mix.
At this time of year, gardening outside is pretty much impossible. The ground is frozen, and there’s still a layer of snow in the shadows on the north side of the house. Besides, it’s cold out there!
Today I was going to write a post about the birding excursion I had planned for the weekend. I expected to show colorful ducks, tricky-to-ID waders, and perhaps some cute little songbirds I saw skulking in the nearby bushes. However…
I sprained my ankle last week. I wish I had a good story to relate, but I simply thought the ground was where it wasn’t. (Happily, I landed between the two thorn bushes!) As you can see, the bump was pretty impressive but the x-rays proved nothing was broken; now it’s simply a matter of time and patience. I’m sitting around with my foot elevated, popping anti-inflamatories and catching up on Facebook. I have to get better soon—our kids and grandkids are coming for Thanksgiving!
As nighttime temperatures dip into the teens, I have to face the fact that I won’t be outside gardening any time soon. Happily, a good part of my garden lives in my house with me. After a busy summer (punctuated by fire, hail, and floods), I finally have time to give my houseplants the attention they deserve.
Unless the plants are in dire straits, I prefer to wait on repotting until spring. Then, the longer days, larger pot, and fresh potting mix combine to encourage new growth. Except for the plants that are winter bloomers (Christmas cactus, some orchids), at this time of year I give my plants a rest by cutting back on fertilizer and watering just enough to keep the soil moist.
Are you missing succulent green foliage, fragrant flowers, and that humus-y smell of living soil? It may be too cold to garden outside, but it’s a great time to focus on houseplants.
My indoor plants tend to be a bit neglected over the summer. Wintertime is a different matter. I fuss over them, washing the leaves, moving root bound plants into bigger pots, refreshing compacted potting mix, and just generally tidying up. This is the time of year I notice which plants have thrived, which survived, and which really need to go to that great compost pile in the sky.
Last night WeatherBug was blinking a frost alert—the first of the season—and sure enough, there was ice on our birdbath this morning. I hate to admit it, but summer is over. I don’t mind the end of the cucumbers; they were overly prolific this year. And the carrots are safe underground for months to come. What I miss are the fresh herbs that we’re still enjoying. So, they’re moving back in with us.
Fresh herbs are pricy at the market, and they don’t keep very long. Yet, herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. Since our garden is quite a ways from the kitchen, I have several pots of basil, thyme, sage, oregano, and rosemary right outside the kitchen door. With the weather cooling off, it’s time to bring them inside.