Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bringing in the Pots

"Bringing in the pots, bringing in the pots, we will go rejoicing bring in the pots."

Post 14 (was 13)

Some say our average first frost date is Oct. 15th.  'Hah!' to that. It is more like Nov. 1st or  after. (I mentioned in an earlier post about how gardening instills humility--well so does writing about it. You see your mistaken assumptions flat in front of you.)

This means, that if you have potted-up tropicals out in the garden, it is time to begin bringing them in. And if you do not have potted-up tropicals, it is time to start thinking about getting some.
They are useful, good-looking heck on cherubic wheels. They are useful outside, filling in visual holes in the garden as plants shift in and out of bloom. Put on a stand or trash-picked wire chair, and they add height. Lay low and they're groundcover.

They are also useful inside, cleaning the air while adding interest and life to a room. Plus overwintering them means you need not buy more next summer. Many people can not be bothered. In fact, if you keep your eyes open on trash days, you may find some people are dumping healthy plants merely because they do not want to care for them over the winter.

Please pardon the lack of home design flair in the at-home  photos. I do not do much to set up shots. What we have is what you see. No rearranging furniture, no primping, not even a proper once over with the dust mop first. And since this blog is for people who want a beautiful garden without too much work, expense or pretentiousness, my hope is that the hand-me-down furniture and menage-a-thrift store blue and white is acceptable.

 There are all sorts of useful, work-intensive things you should, could, really do not have to do when you bring in your pots. It is a good thing to spray them for insects. But I never have, and have not had any bad results. So, after spraying them with pesticide, you are supposed to wash them, repot them, freshen up the soil and take off sun damaged leaves, etc. Again, I don't do this. About the most strenuous thing I do is water them.  In return they class up the joint and increase the oxygen level.

Recognize the plant above on the left?  It is the broad-leaf baby that shelters the outside angel in summer. In winter it does duty in the dining room. At some point I will take off the dead leaves, but probably not till we have people over for dinner. The two plants pictured like shade, which they get from the low light here, a window facing onto an alley. Besides water, the only other thing you really need to get right is light levels. Respect the plant's needs and all will usually come out right.  Since most of the plants I bring in like sun, it is lucky we have a glassed-in sunporch...

...which is also my husband's mancave. And he likes plants. The wall against the house is Wissahickon Schist, which, obviously, goes well with greenery. Also with the print of him fly fishing, which was done by a neighbor of ours.

The other three walls are glass, with window seats of schist and cement onto which I can put the plants. There are few things as peaceful as laying out on the sofa, surrounded by greenery, while watching a snowstorm outside. The muted light, hushed streets and juxtaposition of snow and leaf, cold and warm, windy and still, can make winter, for those long, seemingly timeless moments, pure gift.

See how nasty it is out. Think how warm and cozy you are in. Good time to snuggle up and dream.

Now those perfidious English, they write books about how you can have fresh flowers all year round.  But those blighters are in zone 8, that's northern Florida in American terms, so there will be a period from before Christmas till February when you will be consigned to indoor gardening, and the old blooms of the previous summer.

Which aren't bad looking, cost nothing and are whole world better than artificial ones.

So next time you think of decorating indoors, think of what the garden has to offer. It can make winter healthier, heartier and homier.

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