Garden Rows

Tuesday, November 29

The First Snow

Surprise, winter is here!  I was minding my own business, working on photos for a post about my Thanksgiving cactus when there was a knock on the door.  It was the FedEx guy, but this was the surprise when I opened the door:

It had just started snowing!  At least this year it waited until after Thanksgiving and after the city removed the leaves from the curb.  Then I remembered I still had plants outside that can't handle this kind of weather, uh-oh.  Remember the elephant ear?  It was still sitting out by the front door.  It has been raining for days.  I was waiting for it to stop so it could drip dry for a day or so before I brought it in.  Well, there goes that idea.

What I have read about wintering elephant ears over is that they should be dug up (when the low temperatures hang around 40 degrees) and stored in saw dust or sphagnum moss and placed in a paper bag in a cool dark place until the spring comes around.

I brought it in and put it in a plastic lined cardboard box.  Time for unexpected surgery!

I cut off the leaves leaving about 6 inches or so.  I think you are supposed to cut them closer, but for a short term quick fix this is what I did.

I wonder if I can leave it in the pot allowing it's dormant period this way rather than removing the bulbs and storing them in a paper bag.  I think I will try.

The other plant went into the bath tub temporarily while it drains a bit.

I can never remember what this one is called.  My mom reminds me from time to time, but I can never remember.  The tag was lost many moons ago, probably one of the many times the cat leaped into the pot knocking plant and soil all over the floor.  Between the cat eating the leaves, and knocking it over, this plant has had a hard life.  Despite the rough treatment from the feline it flourishes in the summer shade on the porch.

For now it is Winter and time for these plants to rest.  I will be back soon with the post about the Thanksgiving cactus I was working on when I discovered the snow and need for unexpected surgery of the elephant ear.

Monday, November 14

Crazy Wind Storms

Leave it to central Indiana to provide us with an endless supply of crazy weather.  In the last few weeks we have had
  • grey cloudy skies
  • cold rain
  • warm sunny days
  • a batch of snow (luckily no accumulation due to warm ground) 
  • and we can't forget about the wind
We have had some crazy wind storms.  I don't know if NOAA has a "Crazy Wind Storm" classification, but I am going to stick with it.  35-45 mile an hour gusts seem like they deserve it.  

Remember the big tree in my front yard?  Well, between the rain and the Crazy Wind Storms it went from this:

to this:

in a few days.  The second picture also gives you a nice view of the gloomy clouds blown in after a day of sunshine.

I wish I could take a video so you could see this wind, but we all know you can't SEE wind!  My pup loves to catch sneaky leaves that catch a ride on a breeze.  She is so proud of herself when she gets one that she prances with the leaf in her mouth and her head in the air.  These Crazy Wind Storms have provided quite the ride for the leaves lately!  Somehow the leaves are in tidy piles now.  Here is the one in my driveway.

It may be hard to see in the picture, but the leaves in front are actually all lined up neatly.  It is amazing to me that the leaves are not only in a pile now, but a tidy one at that!  I just might put them in a bag and put it on the curb this year since they are gathered up for me already.

Would you believe it is 66 degrees and pouring rain?  Yep.  November in Indiana.  Not so predictable.  Just the other day, maybe the same day it snowed for an hour, the elephant ear out front got a bite from some frost.  It's not looking to happy today.

Can I be done with winter yet? 

Tuesday, November 8


What flower could say fall better than orange Mums?

Actually, when I was a kid I thought they were summer flowers.  Though I knew the little rule: pinch them back till the 4th of July.  I think it could go back to my young childhood when we brought Mums to my moms sister for Mother's Day.  I remember the pink/purple flowers (it was one of my favorite colors at the time) and it was May, so I associated them with summer for many years.

The other day my mom brought me two orange Mums in glowing full bloom.  They are like balls if smoldering coals.  I removed the tomato plants from the back porch and promptly planted the Mums.

They create a nice visual break in the side of the porch and a bridge between the porch and the steps.  (I was an art major, very helpful in the plant arrangement aspect of gardening and knowledgeable gibberish) I guess these exploding plants came with a few potato beetles.  I forgot what they look like until I saw one.  They are little yellowish beetles with little black polka-dots randomly sprinkled on their shell.  My mom also brought over her Diatomaceous Earth.  The simple explanation for what the stuff is: a powder that is so fine (consisting of fossilized diatoms, hard shelled alge) that it gets in the joints of bugs (beetles, ants, bedbugs, and other hard shelled critters of the sort, but does nothing to earth worms) and hinders their movement.  Check out Wikipedia for more info on DE.  

Back to Mums.

I did not realize how delicate these plants are.  They look like nice sturdy plants just covered in blossoms.  The reality is that they are fragile.  I accidentally lost almost a third of one of the plants before realizing this.  

On the up side, I decided to be brave and turn it just enough to where the gaping hole is now against the porch and almost unnoticeable.  The other fortunate aspect is that I have lots of bud vases that the flowers fit just perfectly.  

In the living room:

And in the Kitchen:

I was surprised how spicy this plant smells!  As I was trimming little flowers from the broken stalk there was a  strong spice smell.  It was vaguely familiar, but I could not quite place it.  

I have never been crazy about Mums.  I never saw myself going out and buying Mums.  Oddly, now having spent time with them today, I have decided I rather like Mums.  When they are planted nicely they add a nice dimension to the fall colors.