Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snow and cold have me missing my garden.

As you can see from the pictures in the last post, winter is in full-swing here in southern Wisconsin. There is so much snow on the ground that it's hard to phathom the elabrate gardens sleeping beneath. On this particularly cold day I decided to warm myself up by browsing through some garden pictures I haven't shared here yet. Enjoy!
Hot cocoa rose:




Mixed blue's...


"Piilu" clematis:

Sweet Pea:
"Kordes Perfecta" rose:
Heuchera, impatiens, and hosta glowing:

Front porch:
Dahlia reminds me of the sun rising...


"Europeana" rose with "hocus pocus" cranesbill, white petunia, creeping jenny, and golden oregano.

Great Blue Lobelia:

Shady corner taking shape.

Side yard taking shape, mostly new this year:

Mixed Pinks:



Purple Coneflower
Dahlia among cosmo foliage:

Morning glory:
"Comtesse de Bouchaud" clematis:

Happy garden dreaming!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Snowin' up the yard, and stinkin' up the house.

During December in Wisconsin there is no work to be done in the garden. Outside of filling up the birdfeeder and heated birdbath, which I categorize as "birding,"rather than "gardening," I don't need to set foot out there. There is a certain level of anxiety just letting your garden rest like this. Did I cover the newer roses with dirt well enough? Did I remember to put rabbit fences around the most exposed roses? Will they all make it? Will this snow be around to protect them all winter? A gardener can go crazy just wondering... good thing I have a back injury that would keep me from being able to tend to my garden anyway! lol.

I thought I'd share some pictures of what the garden looks like this week, starting with this shot taken at midnight during a blizzard from the back of our lot.

This tree looks so heavy!
Our willows were scheduled to be trimmed by the energy company this fall, and they never came. Now, you can see the weight of snow and ice has left the branches lying on the cables. Scary stuff.
This was the view from my bedrom window when I woke up after a heavy storm.
A spot in the garden where the neighbor's bush that normally stands erect has lumped over into our yard.
So, while I'm inside, I am finding ways to "garden." I have put florescent lights in my basement to overwinter my evergrowing collection of tropical plants. Normally, they are all in my windows, but this year I decided to avoid the clutter, and pile them where I can't see them. So far, the elephant ears, red banana, hibiscus, and poor man's orchid seem to love the artificial light and cool temps.
Meanwhile up in the living part of our home I have a few plants, including jasmine, begonia, rosemary and some bulbs. My favorite part of forcing paperwhite bulbs in the house at Christmastime is the inevitable shock I experience, "Oh my goodness, they smell soooo good!" As if each batch is stronger than last year, intensifying with age? The blooms are simply potent. And beautiful.

Still another set of bulbs is under the florescent bulbs in the basement, and due to bloom in a few weeks. Heaven.
Happy indoor gardening!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Queen of the Night

Two years ago while visiting my grandmother's garden, I brought home a small cutting from what we, the very informal gardeners we are, have always referred to as "Night Blooming Cactus." After carrying the stem on my lap across half our United States, and sticking it in small pot in my bedroom, I became curious to know what this plant was really called. I found this plant is known more commonly as "Queen of the Night," or epiphyllum oxypetalum, a very fitting name, indeed.
As a child my grandmother's great cactus towered over me, often covered in a hundred or more blooms open a night, dangling around me we counted together. I can remember taking the blooms apart, disecting the shiny petals, and looking to see where the strong, waxy stamens met in the puckered center of the flower. I can remember, even before tonight, what they smelled like, and what they felt like, these odd magical flowers. They do not open before the sun sets, and by morning, they are spent blooms, ready to be deadheaded by grandma's loving hand before the next line of buds opened the following night.
I strolled past my cactus recently to find it finally formed two small flowers! How did I miss that? I've been checking daily to see when the buds would swell--the way the flowers look the nights before they will actually open are very familiar to me. Yesterday, I know I would be waiting until tonight before the flowers would open. I'm delighted to report I have two "Queen of the Night" blooms reminding me of my childhood on my very own dining room table.
I called Grandma and Grandpa to tell them, and had a wonderful hour long chat with grandma afterward. It's funny, she speaks of how fragrant they are; I remember how fragrant they are. But I guess when you're enveloped by a 100 of them the scent is more potent. Tonight I'm burying my face in the flower, which is nearly the size of my face, to get the slightest whiff.
Here they preparing to open before I clipped them and brought them indoors:

The inside, just like I remember it.

My cat takes a drink of the freshly poored water in the vase.

Fully open. I've been carrying them around the house with me.
Now, I will putting them on my nightstand. :)
Happy Gardening.