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Saturday, September 19, 2020


Ruby-throated Hummingbird enjoying a canna

 When we were kids and lived just down the road from here first frost often showed up fair week...last of August/first of September..... Thus there was a scramble to clean up the garden quickly, as long as it didn't interfere with that all important just-before-back-to-school celebration of agriculture, carnival rides, and food that would terrify me today.

Then over the past few decades it crept later and later until it usually fell the first week in October.

Thus it was with unpleasant surprise that I read the frost advisory last night.

Not ready for this....

I like plants. Perhaps not quite as much as I do dogs, cows, horses and birds, but a lot. Just for Ss&Gs the boss counted my houseplants last winter. It was a nearly impossible task, but he ended up somewhere around 75. 

Some of them are literal trees, a trio of Norfolk Island Pines taller than I am. Others include Sunrise cacti I grew from seed, geraniums ditto, the little pink Christmas cactus my mama gave me when I was still living home, and others of sentimental value. Some are just a challenge and I like those.

Anyhow, it is with utter glee that I put most of them outdoors in the spring. I can water willy nilly out there, the yard looks nice and they thrive.

My sentiments are not the same in the fall, especially when first frost sneaks up on me like this...I normally bring a couple in every day or so as the last weeks of the growing season wind down. Yesterday it was an all or nothing deal. The only ones I had brought in previously were a couple of variegated spider plants I was thinking about selling on Market Place.

Most favorites were in by late afternoon, but the two giant elephant ears, a few annuals I don't want to say goodbye to yet, and one last, large, foxtail fern got their own emergency greenhouse made of plastic we keep to cover doors and windows, and small blankets.

Dwarf zinnias and lobelia, also grown from seed.
The greenhouses had few bedding plants this year so....

Oh, and there are still a few geraniums on the front porch under another set of blankies. I don't know why I bother to winter them decade after decade, except that it is a real challenge to grow them from seed, so there's that, and also stores don't have the colors that I do. They look like scraggly messes all winter, but when they toss out big fat heads of blossoms....well, let's just say the hummingbirds sit up and take notice.

So, today I will try to figure out where to put the elephant ears....they are huge and we rearranged the dining room this summer so they can't go there.

After that, if it did freeze hard last night it will be time to dig the canna jungle and put all the corms in totes in the pantry. BTW, if you want to attract and please the hummers, those big, showy, bright red tubes of joy keep them buzzing the whole bloom season. I am going to have a lot more corms than I need....

Now, you will have to excuse me while I contemplate winter. Ugh.

Anyone know what this thing is?
It is attached to the end of the gas pipeline up on Logtown Rd


Terry and Linda said...

I am right there with you, My Friend! I so dread winter.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Whew! Those plants take a lot of work! I used to treasure a whole bunch of houseplants, too, which I always set outdoors in the summer, where they thrived and grew to enormous size. But one fall a hard frost took me by surprise and I lost every one of them. Did I feel some regret? Well, sure. But I also was surprised by the enormous relief I felt. Now I could totally focus on wildflowers only, without being tugged back indoors to nurse those needy houseplants. But that's just me. That doesn't mean I don't understand your love for your "babies." Here's hoping they survive the frosts to come.

I haven't been keeping up with your always fascinating posts for a while, trying to wean myself away from what had grown to be way too much time at my computer. But now that I've ventured back, I realize how much I have missed spending just a few minutes a day at your place.

threecollie said...

Linda, I am afraid that it is going to be a very hard one, even if the weather isn't too bad.

Jacqueline, I am flattered and delighted that you dropped by. I sure do understand stepping away from social media a little bit. The world looks a lot better from a kayak, or even just outside the back door than it does on the screen. Thanks so much for your kind words.