Hooray for February!
Okay, now that you've all stopped laughing at me and doing that finger circle by your head, I have to explain...
Long ago and far away I lived in a place that had 9 months of winter and 2 months of fall, and maybe, if we were lucky, 1 month of weather that didn't require a coat and pants, (although you always had them with you because it could snow at any moment without warning). I'm talking about Summit County, Colorado, aka Keystone, Breckenridge, and Frisco, aka the Arctic Circle of Colorado. Mr. Light and I are what I call "ex-pats". I lived there for 12 years, and longed for tomatoes, tank tops, and the land of air conditioning. Now we live at a lower Colorado altitude and have all those things except air conditioning - we have ceiling fans instead, and it's all good. February was the month, in Summit County, when winter really got going, and May was a long ways off. Here, we can see the first signs of spring and it's looking good.
(The weeds are growing, anyway!)
But what I really want to talk about is house plants. Some of my houseplants are the ones I'll bring in each year because I can't bear to see them die, and some live in the same spot in the house all year. I can get my flower fix with house plants in the winter, if I am lucky. Some plants are sure to bloom for me each winter, if I put them in a sunny window, like my favorite annual impatiens.
February is also when I have to be very vigilant, as this is the month I start seeing the bugs hatch on the plants I brought in last fall. Then I either do a serious trim and Bonide systemic bug-repellent treatment, or put them outside in a final act of "I can't help you" desperation. Oh well, easy come, easy go.
If I can find the right spot for the true house plants, I am rewarded with blooms on a hit or miss basis. A few have started to bloom every year. I'll tell you more about them below the orange fleur de lis...
I love my house plants as much as I love my outdoor gardens. Most of the house plants have bloomed for me at least once in their lives. I'm not sure if it's where they are, or their watering schedule. Some are blooming as a result of the excellent advice you've all given me, such as this Christmas Cactus, which is blooming again for the second time this winter:
Then there's the amaryllis, which did not disappoint. A neighbor gave this to me about 6 years ago. It bloomed of course, the first Christmas. Then each year, I'd faithfully let the leaves grow all summer in the sunroom, then let it dry out, store the bulb in a dry, dark closet, and plant and water again in the late fall. Nothing. Just bigger and bigger leaves. So this year, I said to it, ok, this is it. Last year. If you don't perform, you're out in the trash. Ta da! Talking to plants does make a difference! I've been rewarded, just in time, with a quadruple bloom! (Two are yet to come) This is the Amyr right now.... you can't really tell, but if you've ever had an Amaryllis, you know these blooms are as big as my hand. (You know the saying, "big hands and big feet.... require big gloves and big shoes!) Ok, ok, couldn't resist. :D
Wow. Just, wow. I'm so impressed!
Then there's the plants that bloom sometimes for me, like the hoya. I have one which is a cutting from my great-grandmother's plant, and another one which I got from my gardening buddy last fall, who said she couldn't get it to thrive. I put it in the front south facing window and it bloomed almost as soon as I got it home. I thought the heavenly scent I kept smelling was the hoya. Turns out it was the Mother-in-law tongue, or spear plant, which hadn't bloomed in almost 15 years, and had a flower facing the window.
Another favorite that I'll bring in for the winter is geraniums. This year I rooted a cutting from my neighbor's geranium along with a few select cuttings from the geraniums I had in pots around the yard. The camera doesn't really capture the deep fuschia color, it's just fabulous.
Ok, I'll admit it. House plants aside, I am behind most of you on the seed starting thing, but I promise, this weekend! It's my first actual free weekend in a long time so I'll move a few of these house plants around and get some peppers and annual flowers started.
So! That's what is going on in my garden, what's going on in yours?